Family Monarch-flycatchers (Monarchidae)

Least Concern

Spectacled Monarch (Symposiachrus trivirgatus)


French: Monarque à lunettes German: Brillenmonarch Spanish: Monarca de anteojos

Drymophila trivirgata


, 1826,



Races diadematus and bimaculatus have been proposed as one or two separate species, with nigrimentum perhaps a third species; although these three taxa appear to constitute a weakly defined group, based on the shorter tail, rather narrow black forehead, slightly darker grey upperparts and less extensive white on distal outer rectrices (not just a function of tail length), vocal differences among them seem pronounced#R; moreover, all Australian populations have a song not shared with any taxa in rest of species’ range; detailed research needed on plumage, morphometric and vocal characters for a robust reassessment of species limits (especially given tentative molecular findings that S populations of the species may be closer to S. guttula than to N populations#R). Birds of Morotai, formerly separated as race morotensis, included here within bimaculatus; birds from Gorong (off E Seram) described as race wellsi, but considered indistinguishable from nigrimentum. Form bernsteinii, listed in HBW for Salawati, now considered invalid, being based on an erroneously labelled specimen (probably from Ambon) of nigrimentum#R. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. t. bimaculatus (G. R. Gray, 1861) – Halmahera Monarch – Morotai, Halmahera and Bacan, in N Moluccas.
  • S. t. diadematus (Salvadori, 1878) – Obi Monarch – Bisa I and Obi.
  • S. t. nigrimentum (G. R. Gray, 1861) – Seram Monarch – Seram and Ambon E to Seram Laut and Watubela Is (Kasiui), in S Moluccas.
  • S. t. trivirgatus (Temminck, 1826) – Spectacled Monarch – C & E Lesser Sundas (Flores, Sumba, Solor, Lembata, Alor, Wetar, Romang, Damar, Roti, Semau, Timor, Jaco and Kisar).
  • S. t. melanopterus (G. R. Gray, 1858) – Louisiade Archipelago and satellite islands.
  • S. t. albiventris (Gould, 1866) – islands in Torres Strait, and N Australia (NE Cape York Peninsula S to McIlwraith Range and Stewart R).
  • S. t. melanorrhous (Schodde & Mason, 1999) – NE Queensland (Annan R S to Seaview Range), in NE Australia.
  • S. t. gouldii (G. R. Gray, 1861) – Australian Monarch – coasts of EC & SE Queensland and New South Wales (Shoalwater Bay S to about Sydney); non-breeding Cape York Peninsula and S New Guinea (Trans-Fly region).
  • Descriptive notes

    14–16 cm; 9–16 g. A medium-sized flycatcher with black face, rufous breast, grey wings and black-and-white tail. Male nominate race has black on forehead, across... read more


    Song in N Australia a series of up to 12 upslurred loud whistles, “zweeei-zweeei-zweeei... read more


    Mostly dense primary and secondary tropical and subtropical forest, wooded gulleys and adjacent... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food mostly small invertebrates, including ants (Hymenoptera), termites (Isoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), cockroaches (Blattodea), spiders... read more


    Season mainly Sept–Feb/Mar; fledglings seen in Jul and Aug on Sumba. Territorial, male vigorously defends territory against rivals.... read more


    Resident in most of range. Partly migratory in Australia, but movements not well known. Present... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common in most of range; uncommon on Flores, on Atauro I, in E Timor and in New Guinea. In Australia, common in humid areas of NE... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2018). Spectacled Monarch (Symposiachrus trivirgatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 10 December 2018).