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Species Guide

Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher

Trochocercus cyanomelas

The Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, or African Crested Flycatcher, is a distinguished member of the Monarchidae family, gracing the eastern and south-eastern African landscapes. Its plumage is a testament to its name, with a striking blue mantle adorning its back.

Identification Tips

When endeavoring to identify this species, one should note its characteristic crest and the blue hues that contrast with the surrounding foliage. The female, as captured in photographs from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, exhibits these features with grace.


The Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher thrives in a variety of forested environments, from subtropical or tropical dry forests to the lushness of subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.


This species has a presence across a swath of the African continent, from Uganda and north-western Tanzania, through the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique, to the eastern reaches of South Africa.


As with its Monarchidae kin, the Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher is an insectivore, deftly navigating its forested realm in pursuit of insect prey.

Diet and Feeding

Insectivorous by nature, the Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher partakes in a diet consisting exclusively of insects, showcasing its adept hunting skills within its arboreal habitat.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List categorizes the Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher as Least Concern, indicating a stable population that does not currently face significant threats to its survival.


Five subspecies of this flycatcher are recognized, each with a distinct geographical range:

  • T. c. vivax: From Uganda and north-western Tanzania to south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and northern and western Zambia.
  • East African Crested Flycatcher (T. c. bivittatus): From Somalia to eastern Tanzania.
  • T. c. megalolophus: From Malawi and northern Mozambique to Zimbabwe and eastern KwaZulu-Natal in north-eastern South Africa.
  • T. c. segregus: In eastern Northern Province and western KwaZulu-Natal in north-eastern South Africa.
  • T. c. cyanomelas: In south and south-eastern South Africa.

Similar Species

While the Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher is unique in its own right, it was once described in the genus Muscicapa and has been classified in the genus Terpsiphone, indicating morphological similarities with other flycatchers that could lead to potential confusion among less experienced birdwatchers.

Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Blue-mantled Crested Flycatchers on Birda


More Monarchs

A photo of a White-eared Monarch (Carterornis leucotis)

White-eared Monarch

Carterornis leucotis
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