Species of Thailand
Binomial name: Hypothymis azurea, Pieter Boddaert, 1783
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. They are sexually dimorphic with males having a distinctive black patch on the back of the head and a narrow black half collar ("necklace") while the female is duller and lacks the black markings. 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 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. Her wings and back are grey-brown. There are however several geographically separated breeding populations that differ in the extent and shade of markings. The Indian peninsula (includes sykesi of Stuart Baker) has subspecies styani which has the black markings very distinct. 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, tytleri, has the underparts blue grey. The form on Car Nicobar Island idiochroa has a greyish white belly while 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 will join mixed-species foraging flocks and are active in the understory of the canopy.
Although they are largely residents, local seasonal movements are known. The breeding season in India is March to August and the nest is neat cup placed in a fork. The nest is built by the female while the male guards. The typical clutch is of three eggs with both parents incubate and feed the young which hatch after about 12 days.
The webs of large spiders such as Nephila maculata have been know to trap the bird.
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Videos of Black-naped monarch
Black-naped monarch - Kaeng Krachan National Park
Black-naped monarch nesting
Black-naped monarch - Yonok wetland, Chiang Rai, Thailand
- Hypothymis azurea
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
Hypothymis azurea gigantoptera, Harry Church Oberholser, 1911
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
Hypothymis azurea oberholseri, Erwin Stresemann, 1913
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
Least Concern (IUCN3.1)
- Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park
- Doi Inthanon National Park
- Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
- Erawan National Park
- Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
- Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
- Kaeng Krachan National Park
- Khao Luang 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
- Ko Chang District, Trat
- Mae Wong National Park
- Nam Nao National Park
- Pang Sida National Park
- Pha Daeng National Park
- Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
- Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
- Sri Phang-nga National Park
- Thap Lan National Park
Range map of Hypothymis azurea in Thailand
Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.
Special thanks to Ton Smits and Parinya Pawangkhanant for their help with many range data.
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