Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Black-naped monarch

Hypothymis azurea

Pieter Boddaert, 1783

In Thai: นกจับแมลงจุกดำ

The black-naped monarch or black-naped blue flycatcher (Hypothymis azurea) is a slim and agile passerine bird belonging to the family of monarch flycatchers found in southern and south-eastern Asia. They are sexually dimorphic, with the male having a distinctive black patch on the back of the head and a narrow black half collar ("necklace"), while the female is duller with olive brown wings and lacking the black markings on the head. They have a call that is similar to that of the Asian paradise flycatcher, and in tropical forest habitats, pairs may join mixed-species foraging flocks. Populations differ slightly in plumage colour and sizes.


The black-naped monarch was described by the French polymath Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon in 1779 in his Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux. The bird was also illustrated in a hand-coloured plate engraved by François-Nicolas Martinet in the Planches Enluminées D'Histoire Naturelle which was produced under the supervision of Edme-Louis Daubenton to accompany Buffon's text. Neither the plate caption nor Buffon's description included a scientific name but in 1783 the Dutch naturalist Pieter Boddaert coined the binomial name Muscicapa azurea in his catalogue of the Planches Enluminées. Buffon specified that his specimen had been collected in the Philippines, but in 1939 the American ornithologist James L. Peters restricted the type locality to Manila on the island of Luzon. The black-naped monarch is now placed in the genus Hypothymis was introduced by the German zoologist Friedrich Boie in 1826 with the black-naped monarch as the type species. The genus name is from the Ancient Greek hupothumis, the name of an unidentified bird mentioned by the playwright Aristophanes. The specific epithet azurea is from the Medieval Latin azureus meaning "azure-coloured" or "azure-blue".

Alternate names for the black-naped monarch include black-naped blue monarch and black-naped monarch flycatcher. Some authorities separate two former subspecies, H. a. blasii (Banggai Island) and H. a. puella (Sulawesi), and place them as subspecies of the pale-blue monarch (Hypothymis puella).


Twenty-three subspecies are recognized:

  • H. a. styani - (Hartlaub, 1899): Originally described as a separate species in the genus Ficedula, found from India and Nepal to southeast China and Vietnam. The abdomen is whitish in males.
  • H. a. oberholseri - Stresemann, 1913: Found in Taiwan
  • H. a. ceylonensis - Sharpe, 1879: Originally described as a separate species, found in Sri Lanka. The males lack the black necklace.
  • H. a. tytleri - (Beavan, 1867): Originally described as a separate species in the genus Myiagra. Found in the Andaman Islands. The abdomen of males is blue.
  • H. a. idiochroa - Oberholser, 1911: Found on Car Nicobar (northern Nicobar Islands). The abdomen of males is white tinged with blue.
  • H. a. nicobarica - Bianchi, 1907: Found on southern Nicobar Islands. The abdomen of males is white tinged with blue.
  • H. a. montana - Riley, 1929: Found in northern and central Thailand
  • H. a. galerita - (Deignan, 1956), 1929: Found in southwest and southeast Thailand
  • H. a. forrestia - Oberholser, 1911: Found in Mergui Archipelago (off western Myanmar)
  • H. a. prophata - Oberholser, 1911: Found on Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo
  • H. a. javana - Chasen & Kloss, 1929: Found on Java and Bali (Indonesia)
  • H. a. penidae - Meise, 1942: Found on Nusa Penida (near Bali in the Lesser Sundas)
  • H. a. karimatensis - Chasen & Kloss, 1932: Found on Karimata Island (off western Borneo)
  • H. a. opisthocyanea - Oberholser, 1911: Found on Anambas Islands (in the South China Sea)
  • H. a. gigantoptera - Oberholser, 1911: Found on Natuna Besar (Natuna Islands, South China Sea)
  • H. a. consobrina - Richmond, 1902: Originally described as a separate species, found on Simeulue (off north-western Sumatra)
  • H. a. leucophila - Oberholser, 1911: Found on Siberut (off western Sumatra)
  • H. a. richmondi - Oberholser, 1911: Found on Enggano Island (off south-western Sumatra)
  • H. a. abbotti - Richmond, 1902: Originally described as a separate species, found on Reusam and Babi Islands (off north-western Sumatra)
  • H. a. symmixta - Stresemann, 1913: Found on western and central Lesser Sundas
  • Philippine black-naped monarch (H. a. azurea) - (Boddaert, 1783): Also known as the black-capped monarch and Philippine black-naped blue monarch. Found in Philippines (except Camiguin Sur Island)
  • H. a. aeria - Bangs & Peters, JL, 1927: Originally described as a separate species, found on Maratua Island (off eastern Borneo)
  • H. a. catarmanensis - Rand & Rabor, 1969: Found on Camiguin Sur Island (southern Philippines)


The adult male black-naped monarch is about 16 cm long, and is mainly pale azure blue apart from a whitish lower belly. It has a black nape and a narrow black gorget. The female is duller and lacks the black markings. Its wings and back are grey-brown. However, several geographically separated breeding populations differ in the extent and shade of markings. The Indian peninsula has subspecies H. a. styani (which subsumes H. a. sykesi of Stuart Baker), in which males have very distinct black markings and a whitish abdomen. Males of the Sri Lankan race H. a. ceylonensis lack the black nape and gorget and the shade is more purplish. The subspecies of the Andaman Islands, H. a. tytleri, has the underparts blue grey. The form on Car Nicobar Island, H. a. idiochroa, has a greyish white belly, while H. a. nicobarica from the southern Nicobars has a smaller and finer bill. The colour of the gape is yellowish to green.

Distribution and habitat

The black-naped monarch breeds across tropical southern Asia from India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia and the Philippines. This species is usually found in thick forests and other well-wooded habitats.

The calls are a sharp and abrupt skrip.

The main breeding season in India is in summer from May to July. Two to three eggs are laid in a cup nest placed in the fork of a tree. The nest is decorated with spider-egg cases.

Behaviour and ecology

The black-naped monarch has short legs and sits very upright whilst perched prominently, like a shrike. It is insectivorous, often hunting by flycatching. When alarmed or alert, the nape feathers are raised into a pointed crest. They join mixed-species foraging flocks, being among the most significant members of such flocks in the Western Ghats, and are active in the understory of forest canopies. A study in Sri Lanka showed that they are affected by human disturbance causing them to recede from disturbed edges by about 75 m.

Although they are largely residents, local seasonal movements are known. The breeding season in India is March to August and the nest is a neat cup placed in a fork. The cup is lined with filaments of webbing and fungi including those of the genus Marasmius which are known to produce antibiotics and may benefit the birds by protecting the young from infection. The nest is built by the female while the male guards. The typical clutch is three eggs, which both parents incubate and both feed the young, which hatch after about 12 days.

The webs of large spiders such as Nephila maculata have been known to trap the bird. An astrovirus was detected in a black-naped monarch in Cambodia, a virus that was earlier unknown from passerines. The feather mite Proterothrix hypothymis (Pterodectinae: Protophyllodidae) has been described from black-naped monarchs in Vietnam.

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Category / Seasonal Status

BCST Category: Recorded in an apparently wild state within the last 50 years

BCST Seasonal statuses:

  • Resident or presumed resident
  • Non-breeding visitor

Scientific classification

Hypothymis azurea

Common names

  • Thai: นกจับแมลงจุกดำ


  • Hypothymis azurea abbotti, Charles Wallace Richmond, 1902

    Range: Reusam and Babi islands

  • Hypothymis azurea aeria, Outram Bangs & James Lee Peters, 1927

    Range: Maratua Island

  • Hypothymis azurea consobrina, Charles Wallace Richmond, 1902

    Range: Simeulue Island

  • Hypothymis azurea forrestia, Harry Church Oberholser, 1911

    Range: Mergui Archipelago

  • Hypothymis azurea galerita, Herbert Girton Deignan, 1956

    Range: Thailand

  • Hypothymis azurea gigantoptera, Harry Church Oberholser, 1911

    Range: Bunguran

  • Hypothymis azurea javana, Frederick Nutter Chasen & Cecil Boden Kloss, 1929

    Range: Java and Bali.

  • Hypothymis azurea karimatensis, Frederick Nutter Chasen & Cecil Boden Kloss, 1932

    Range: Karimata Island

  • Hypothymis azurea leucophila, Harry Church Oberholser, 1911

    Range: Siberut Island

  • Hypothymis azurea montana, Joseph Harvey Riley, 1929

    Range: Thailand

  • Hypothymis azurea oberholseri, Erwin Stresemann, 1913

    Range: Taiwan

  • Hypothymis azurea opisthocyanea, Harry Church Oberholser, 1911

    Range: Anamba Island

  • Hypothymis azurea penidae, Wilhelm Meise, 1941

    Range: Penida Island

  • Hypothymis azurea prophata, Harry Church Oberholser, 1911

    Range: Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.

  • Hypothymis azurea richmondi, Harry Church Oberholser, 1911

    Range: Enggano Island

  • Hypothymis azurea symmixta, Erwin Stresemann, 1913

    Range: Lesser Sundas.


  • Monarcha azurea

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


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Black-naped monarch
Black-naped monarch
Black-naped monarch
Black-naped monarch
Black-naped monarch

Range Map

Distribution map of Black-naped monarch, Hypothymis azurea in Thailand
  • Ao Phang-Nga National Park
  • Ban Hong Non-Hunting Area
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Lat District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Ban Pho District, Chachoengsao
  • Bang Lamung District, Chonburi
  • Bang Lang National Park
  • Bang Pahan District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Phra Non-Hunting Area
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bang Saphan Noi District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Bangkok Province
  • Bueng Boraped Non-Hunting Area
  • Bueng Khong Long Non-Hunting Area
  • Chae Son National Park
  • Chaiya District, Surat Thani
  • Chaloem Phra Kiat District, Saraburi
  • Chaloem Phrakiat Thai Prachan National Park
  • Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park
  • Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Dan Sai District, Loei
  • Doi Chong National Park
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Khun Tan National Park
  • Doi Lang
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
  • Doi Phu Kha National Park
  • Doi Suthep - Pui National Park
  • Erawan National Park
  • Fang District, Chiang Mai
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Hang Chat District, Lampang
  • Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Huai Sala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Huai Yang Waterfall National Park
  • Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi
  • Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kaeng Krung National Park
  • Kaeng Som Maew Queen Sirikit Forest Park
  • Kamphaeng Saen District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Kanthararom District, Sisaket
  • Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Banthat Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Chamao - Khao Wong National Park
  • Khao Khitchakut National Park
  • Khao Laem National Park
  • Khao Laem Ya - Mu Ko Samet National Park
  • Khao Lak - Lam Ru National Park
  • Khao Luang National Park
  • Khao Nam Khang National Park
  • Khao Nan National Park
  • Khao Nang Phanthurat Forest Park
  • Khao Phanom Bencha National Park
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Khlong Lan National Park
  • Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khon San District, Chaiyaphum
  • Khuan Khanun District, Phatthalung
  • Khun Chae National Park
  • Khun Korn Forest Park
  • Khun Nan National Park
  • Khun Tan District, Chiang Rai
  • Khura Buri District, Phang Nga
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Ko Chang District, Trat
  • Ko Chang National Park
  • Ko Lanta National Park
  • Ko Phra Thong
  • Ko Sichang District, Chonburi
  • Kromluang Chumphon Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Laem Ngop District, Trat
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Lam Nam Kok National Park
  • Lam Nam Nan National Park
  • Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Chan District, Chiang Rai
  • Mae Charim National Park
  • Mae Fa Luang District, Chiang Rai
  • Mae Moei National Park
  • Mae Ngao National Park
  • Mae Ping National Park
  • Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Sot District, Tak
  • Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Wong National Park
  • Muak Lek District, Saraburi
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • Mueang Chonburi District, Chonburi
  • Mueang Chumphon District, Chumphon
  • Mueang Kamphaeng Phet District, Kamphaeng Phet
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mueang Loei District, Loei
  • Mueang Maha Sarakham District, Maha Sarakham
  • Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Mueang Nakhon Pathom District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Mueang Nan District, Nan
  • Mueang Pathum Thani District, Pathum Thani
  • Mueang Phang Nga District, Phang Nga
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai
  • Mueang Suphanburi District, Suphan Buri
  • Mueang Tak District, Tak
  • Nam Nao National Park
  • Nam Phong National Park
  • Namtok Sam Lan National Park
  • Noen Maprang District, Phitsanulok
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-Hunting Area
  • Nong Saeng District, Udon Thani
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Op Khan National Park
  • Pachee River Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Pae Mueang Pee Forest Park
  • Pai District, Mae Hong Son
  • Pak Kret District, Nonthaburi
  • Pak Thale
  • Pang Sida National Park
  • Pang Sila Thong District, Kamphaeng Phet
  • Pha Daeng National Park
  • Pha Hin Ngam National Park
  • Pha Nam Yoi Forest Park
  • Pha Taem National Park
  • Phan District, Chiang Rai
  • Phato District, Chumphon
  • Pho Prathap Chang District, Phichit
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park
  • Phu Foi Lom National Park
  • Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Kradueng National Park
  • Phu Langka National Park
  • Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Pha Thoep National Park
  • Phu Phan National Park
  • Phu Ruea National Park
  • Phu Sa Dok Bua National Park
  • Phu Soi Dao National Park
  • Phu Suan Sai National Park
  • Phu Toei National Park
  • Phu Wiang National Park
  • Phu Wua Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phutthamonthon District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Ramkhamhaeng National Park
  • Rattanaburi District, Surin
  • Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi
  • Sai Yok National Park
  • Sakaerat Environmental Research Station
  • Salak Pra Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Salawin National Park
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • San Kala Khiri National Park
  • Sanam Bin Reservoir Non-Hunting Area
  • Sanam Chai Khet District, Chachoengsao
  • Sangkhla Buri District, Kanchanaburi
  • Si Racha District, Chonburi
  • Si Sawat District, Kanchanaburi
  • Sri Nakarin Dam National Park
  • Sri Phang-nga National Park
  • Su-ngai Kolok District, Narathiwat
  • Ta Phraya National Park
  • Tai Rom Yen National Park
  • Taksin Maharat National Park
  • Taphan Hin District, Phichit
  • Tarutao National Marine Park
  • Tat Mok National Park
  • Tat Ton National Park
  • Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi
  • Thale Ban National Park
  • Tham Pratun Non-Hunting Area
  • Thap Lan National Park
  • Thong Pha Phum National Park
  • Thung Salaeng Luang National Park
  • Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Ton Nga-Chang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Ton Pariwat Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Wang Mai Forest Restoration Project
  • Wang Saphung District, Loei
  • Wat Phai Lom & Wat Ampu Wararam Non-Hunting Area
  • Wiang Kaen District, Chiang Rai
  • Wiang Lo Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Yan Ta Khao District, Trang
Range map of Hypothymis azurea in Thailand