Black-winged Monarch (Monarcha frater)

Family: The black-winged monarch (Monarcha frater) belongs to the family Monarchidae.
Range: Australia and New Guinea are home to this species. It is found there in the tropical rainforests of the Cape York Peninsula.
Migration: The black-winged monarch is a rare breeder and summer migrant. It arrives in small numbers in October and March, presumably to spend the winter in southern New Guinea and on the Trans-Fly.
Habitats: The birds space themselves out individually or in territorial pairs on their breeding grounds, and they often forage alone. Their work is similar to that of the Black-faced Monarch in the mid- and lower stages of the forest. Instead of swooping out to catch insects on the wing, they hop rather leisurely through the branches and foliage of trees and shrubs. Their feeding sometimes takes them into the eucalyptus woods surrounding the rainforest. Tropical moist lowland forests and tropical moist montane forests are its natural habitats.


Monarchidae is a family of birds that includes the black-winged monarch, Monarcha frater.
Monarchidae is a family of birds that includes the black-winged monarch, Monarcha frater.
Similar Species: There is a strong similarity between Black-winged Monarchs and Black-faced Monarchs, and they have been grouped together as one species. Although black-winged herons display black wings and tails and reversal of facial black proportion, their breeding ranges, as judged by their overlapping migration, are mutually exclusive.
Other names: It is also known as a black-winged flycatcher, a black-chinned flycatcher, a pearly flycatcher, and a black-winged monarch flycatcher.
Size: Black-winged Monarchs measure about 170-180 mm in length.
Identification: The male upper parts, median wing covers, and shoulders are white or pearly grey in the Australian race. There is a metallic blue-black color on the forehead, front of the lores, chin, and most throats. Black is the color of the wings and lesser coverts, and black is the color of the tail. The breast is pale pearly gray; the rest of the underparts are rich rufous. The eyes are dark brown in color. Pale blue-grey is the color of the bill. The feet are leaden-grey in color.
Female: When compared with Australian races, dorsal gray is darker, ventral rufous is paler, wing covers are more extensively gray, and blackface is smaller, with almost white lores.
Immature: It is similar to an adult except that the black around the face is greatly reduced; the wing quills are duller; and the edges are brown-buff. Black-faced Monarch has a similar call.
Nesting and Breeding: The bird breeding and nesting seasons occur in October and March. Gobler-shaped nest of strips of paperbark bound with cobweb and thickly clad with green moss; lined with vegetable fiber, blackish vine tendrils, fern fiber, and horsehair fungus; arranged in an upright fork up to 10–12 meters off the ground among the foliage.
Eggs: Three cream-colored eggs are smooth and slightly lustrous with red-brown markings and underlying purple, forming a zone at the higher end. Approximately 23 x 17 mm, the eggs are blunt-oval in shape
Distribution: From southern New Guinea, the Black-winged Monarch migrates south to the Cape York Peninsula in October; it leaves again in March.
Races: Australia has only one breeding race out of four.
  • M. f. frater (Found in Papua New Guinea)
  • M. f. kunupi (Found in Papua New Guinea)
  • M. f. periophthalmicus (Found in Papua New Guinea)
  • Pearly monarch (M. f. canescens) or pearly flycatcher (Found in North-eastern Australia)
Black-winged Monarch (Monarcha frater)
Black-winged Monarch (Monarcha frater). Australia and New Guinea are home to this species. In the tropical rainforests of the Cape York Peninsula. Photo credit: Animals Fandom