Possible Black-winged Monarch drops into Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge

December 27, 2011

A possible Black-winged Monarch was reported in the orchard of Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge on 26th December in the late afternoon. This was exciting as there had been no confirmed record, only one unconfirmed report.


The report of a Black-winged Monarch sent us scurrying down to the orchard to investigate and spend some time searching before locating it, firstly by call then by sight. Unfortunately it kept high in the rainforest canopy and when it did drop down into a mango tree the wing was obscured by a branch! It then flew off to the frustration of the three observers. The following day in the early morning it was found again and after some persistence a few images were taken in the gloom of the rainforest. This resulted in some noisy pictures but good enough to separate it out from the more common Black-faced Monarch. The black around the face did not extend over the eye and onto the forehead, the overall grey of the upper body was a lighter grey than Black-faced and there was a definite contrast in the wing between the blackish primaries and the grey wing coverts. The calls of the Black-winged and Black-faced are very slightly different making them difficult to separate out without experience. There have been a few records on/near the Atherton Tableland including one at nearby Abattoir Swamp and another on the lower slopes of Mt. Lewis. The Black-winged Monarch normally has a distribution on Cape York as far south as Shiptons Flat (90km north of Julatten) but in recent years they are very rare here. The most reliable location for the southern distribution is now McIvor River which is about 165km north of Julatten. So it is very exciting to see this bird so far south of its "normal" range and to hopefully confirm the identification. Further conversations with people more expert than us suggest that this bird is a young adult Black-faced Monarch in moult. We will publish any more information if it comes to hand.


Land Birds 1 species
Black-winged Monarch (Monarcha frater) 1



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