The shining flycatcher almost doesn’t look real

The shining flycatcher almost doesn’t look real


Bec Crew


Bec Crew

Bec Crew is a Sydney-primarily based science communicator with a love for bizarre and superb animals. From strange behaviours and particular diversifications to newly uncovered species and the scientists who come across them, her topics celebrate how alien but relatable so a lot of of the creatures that live amongst us can be.

ByBec Crew
May perhaps 9, 2022

Australia’s most gorgeous birds aren’t just the vibrant kinds. With its shiny blue-black feathers that shimmer like a polished gemstone, the shining flycatcher is one particular of our most putting indigenous species.

Observed in tropical northern Australia, as properly as parts of Indonesia and New Guinea, this amazing songbird is ideal suited to lifetime in mangroves, wetlands and moist lowland forests. It retains by itself to shaded spots less than the canopy, somewhat than out in the open (which is a shame, thinking of how fantastic its plumage seems to be in the light).

With a identify referencing Alecto, one of the a few Furies in Greek mythology, the shining flycatcher (Myiagra alecto) is recognised for its restless action – it is often flitting all-around, pursuing insects on the forest floor and even though in flight.

The species has exclusive sexual dimorphism (the males and females appear pretty different). The male (pictured previously mentioned) is metallic blue all more than, while the female has a blue head and a chestnut and white entire body:

A female shining flycatcher (Myiagra alecto) on a nest in Queensland. Picture credit history: Minden Pics/Alamy

Shining flycatchers belong to the monarchs family (Monarchidae), a significant team of insectivorous songbirds that are distinguished by their small measurement and long tails. The hundred-moreover regarded species are identified throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South-east Asia, Australasia and the Pacific islands. Numerous of them develop cup-like nests like the 1 pictured previously mentioned.

One particular these species is the pied monarch (Arses kaupi), a humorous tiny chicken that is endemic to the forests of coastal Queensland. It is known for the striking shiny blue ring (or ‘wattle’) all over its eyes and practice of puffing alone up like a marshmallow.

Here’s just one with a quite skilfully created cup nest:

A male pied monarch (Arses kaupi) feeding fledglings in vine nest in Ingham, Queensland. Picture credit: Minden Photographs/Alamy

The pied monarch has an uncommon strategy of looking down insects – it spirals up and all around the trunk of a tree, masking a large amount of ground in a quick total of time:

One more member of the monarch loved ones, and near relative of the shining flycatcher, is the leaden flycatcher (Myiagra rubecula) from japanese and northern Australia and pieces of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

In Sydney, it is been nicknamed the frogbird – a fairly unfortunate moniker for these kinds of an stylish-on the lookout bird:

A male leaden flycatcher (Myiagra rubecula) at Imbota Nature Reserve, New South Wales. Graphic credit:

Its nickname refers to its distinct, guttural get in touch with which, to be truthful, actually does sound like a very little frog croaking.

Here’s what to maintain your ears and eyes peeled for, if you want to attempt and spot just one of these beauties out in the wild: