Like other monarchs and flycatchers, the Black-faced Monarch has bristles around its bill to help it catch insects.
The Black-faced Monarch has a distinctive black face that does not extend across the eyes, grey upperparts, wings and upper breast, contrasting with a rufous (red-orange) belly. The dark eye has a thin black eye ring and a lighter area of pale grey around it. The blue-grey bill has a hooked tip. Young birds are similar but lack the black face, have a black bill and tend to have a brownish body and wings. The Black-faced Monarch is one of the monarch flycatchers, a forest and woodland-dwelling group of small insect-eating birds, and is strictly arboreal (found in trees).
The Black-faced Monarch is found in rainforests, eucalypt woodlands, coastal scrub and damp gullies. It may be found in more open woodland when migrating.
The Black-faced Monarch is found along the coast of eastern Australia, becoming less common further south.
Resident in the north of its range, but is a summer breeding migrant to coastal south-eastern Australia, arriving in September and returning northwards in March. It may also migrate to Papua New Guinea in autumn and winter.
Feeding and diet
The Black-faced Monarch forages for insects among foliage, or catches flying insects on the wing.
Clear whistled 'why-you-whichye-oo'; also creaks, chatters and scolds.
The Black-faced Monarch builds a deep cup nest of casuarina needles, bark, roots, moss and spider web in the fork of a tree, about 3 m to 6 m above the ground. Only the female builds the nest, but both sexes incubate the eggs and feed the young.
- Breeding season: October to January
- Clutch size: Two to three