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A photo of a Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea)
Black-naped Monarch

Black-naped Monarch

Hypothymis azurea

The Black-naped Monarch, or Black-naped Blue Flycatcher (Hypothymis azurea), is a dainty and nimble bird from the family of monarch flycatchers. It graces the southern and southeastern parts of Asia with its presence. The male is adorned with a striking black patch on the nape and a delicate black half-collar, while the female is more subdued with olive-brown wings and absent the black head markings.

Identification Tips

Males of this species can be identified by their pale azure blue plumage and distinctive black nape and gorget. Females, on the other hand, are less vivid and lack the black markings, with grey-brown wings and back. The bill is fine, and the gape color ranges from yellowish to green. Subspecies vary slightly in size and the intensity of their coloration.


The Black-naped Monarch favors dense forests and other richly wooded environments, where it can be seen flitting about with grace.


This bird has a broad range across tropical southern Asia, from Iran and Sri Lanka to Indonesia and the Philippines.


With short legs, the Black-naped Monarch perches very upright, reminiscent of a shrike. It is primarily insectivorous, engaging in flycatching to capture its prey. When alert, it raises its nape feathers into a pointed crest. It is known to participate in mixed-species foraging flocks and is particularly active in the understory of forest canopies.

Song & Calls

The Black-naped Monarch's call is a sharp and abrupt "skrip," which it uses to communicate within its habitat.


During the main breeding season, which occurs from May to July in India, the Black-naped Monarch lays two to three eggs in a cup-shaped nest situated in a tree fork. The nest is often adorned with spider-egg cases.

Similar Species

While there are no similar species mentioned, the Black-naped Monarch can be distinguished from other flycatchers by its unique coloration and black nape markings in males.

Diet and Feeding

This bird is insectivorous, adept at flycatching, and is an integral member of mixed-species foraging flocks.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List categorizes the Black-naped Monarch as Least Concern, indicating that it currently faces no significant threats to its survival.

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Black-naped Monarches on Birda


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