Monday, 6 February 2012

Monarch of the rainforest


We get two kinds of monarchs here — country and we pied (Arses kaupi) and black-faced (Monarcha melanopsis). Actually, we get three, but that would have finished off an already ailing joke. The third species is the spectacled monarch (M. trivirgatus).

Of the three, the black-faced monarch is the species I see most often. The birds appear late in the afternoon, just as the light is going, so getting a photo — even a 'soft' one like this — is a matter of luck. They are active birds, constantly moving through the vegetation in search of insects. Occasionally, they stop to mob spotted catbirds.


Black-faced monarchs are migratory across a large part of their range, arriving in September and leaving in March. At least part of the population on the Atherton Tablelands is resident. They must like the cold weather.

Tyto Tony has photos of the other two species from Jourama Falls, south of Ingham, where it is balmy all year around.

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Sadly, the generic name of the pied monarch still fills me with mirth.

12 comments:

Alan Pavey said...

Nice pic, I managed to find one these on my only visit to Australia from the Kuranda (?) skylift thing near Port Douglas, really enjoyable trip.

Snail said...

I've yet to go on the Skyrail, which seems like an oversight on my part. It looks like a lot of fun. I suppose it'll be there for a while yet!

Alan Pavey said...

The Skyrail, that's it!! There are a couple of places you can get off on the way, little stations in the canopy, I could have hung around there for ages.

Bernie H said...

Such a beautiful bird. I've never actually seen one of these, so I've enjoyed your photo immensely.

Snail said...

Alan, there's now a canopy walkway halfway up the southern end of the range on the Palmerston Highway. Haven't been on it, but it should be interesting.

Snail said...

Bernie, the orange is brighter in the sun. They are such lovely birds. (Unless you're a catbird, in which case, watch out!)

Russell said...

Lovely bird and grand portrait!

sarala said...

Actually, I think it is a lovely photo. Beautiful bird too.

laurak@forestwalkart said...

what a beauty!!
are those little whiskers or bug's legs sticking out of the side of his mouth!!

so thoughtful of him to hang around before it got too dark for a picture!

Snail said...

Thanks, Russell and Sarala.

Laura, they are whiskers. I think they make him look quite distinguished. (Probably less so if it's a her!)

magda and crew in australia said...

What a beautiful shade of Powder Blue the Black-faced monarch wears, and with matching legs and beak... fascinating seeing those bits being Powder Blue too... the, to me, tangerine tones underneath give a pretty contrast.

A very beautiful Bird Snail, glad you succeeded in achieving such a beautiful photo.

Snail said...

They are very natty birds. In fact, the whole group dresses very well. :)