Iron Range/Cape York trip November 2012

To: Keith Fisher <>, birding-aus threads <>
Subject: Iron Range/Cape York trip November 2012
From: martin cachard <>
Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2012 00:32:42 +1100
Hi  Keith & All,

I'm glad that you have commented & directed us all to your images of 
Black-faced Monarchs seen at Kingfisher Park over recent years.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that this species does show individual 
variation that has seemingly been overlooked in the past. Obviously, for 
obsevers not overly familiar with the similar Black-winged Monarch, such 
variation amongst Black-faced does cause some confusion when identiifying 
between these 2 very closely related species.
I believe, after having looked at your blog-site showing images of various 
individuals, that all are indeed Black-faced Monarchs. For me, none of these 
birds are silvery-white enough or black enough where they need to be, to be 
considered anything other than Black-faced Monarchs (although some are 

Image #5 is the most interesting to me however - your bird is no doubt (to me 
at least!!) a Black-faced Monarch. This is the first time I've seen or been 
shown this type of plumage in Black-faced!!

I've seen a few & have good photographs of Black-winged Monarchs with similar, 
but also more extensive, black gorgets through the breast-band connecting with 
rufous lower breast. Such birds also show more black than would normally be 
expected through the wing medians of Black-wingeds & also have a much more 
extensive mask that usually connects with the black eye-surrounds, sometimes 
even forming a brow that appears to extend behind the eye (although this 
extension behind the eye could well be a result of expression).
I feel that this black "over-pigmentation" (someone please give me the correct 
term for this!!) may well be some kind of feature shown by older dominant males 
(I've been privately calling these types as "alpha" males) that indeed occurs 
in both Black-winged & Black-faced Monarchs - your image #5 is the first 
evidence that I've seen that Black-faced does also show this plumage, whatever 
the reason for it...

I've also asked a few people in more southern parts to keep an eye out for 
Black-faced Monarchs showing more black than we think they should - especially 
on the wings, tail, & head/breast.
So I am also very interested to hear about or see any images from anyone out 
there of Black-faced Monarchs showing such black "over-pigmentation"...

Keith, it's great that you noticed a male monarch displaying - this is, as far 
as I'm aware, something only just discovered in Black-faced last year...?? Did 
the male lift & spread his wings, as well as spread & fan his tail???
I also have good images of Black-winged Monarchs doing all this plus more - 
something I'm working on currently for publication...

It's amazing what we are finding out... 
I'm heading to my Black-winged Monarch study site this coming weekend for 4 
days to do some more work on the Black-wingeds, & also doing some fieldwork on 
southern Tropical Scrubwrens  there as well...

Please everyone, keep your eyes peeled for blacker than normal Black-faced 
Monarchs any where, but especially south of the Wet Tropics...

Cheers for now,

Martin Cachard,  


0428 782 808 

> Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2012 16:57:28 +1000
> From: 
> To: 
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Iron Range/Cape York trip November 2012
> Hi Folks
> Alan Stuart in his Iron Range/Cape York trip November 2012 report 
> mentioned id of Black-face/Black-winged Monarch.
> "We spent our final 2 nights at Kingfisher Park, which was its usual
> wonderful self. Red-necked Crakes and Bush-hens were present but they were
> elusive and not seen by all of us.  Interestingly, a monarch with black on
> its wings was seen by some of our group - but I understand there is a bit of
> a story to it and that it is considered to be a Black-faced Monarch. I
> didn't see the bird and will leave it to others to shed light about it."
> This weeks blog  from the 
> Lodge has a few images of Black-faced Monarch found at the Lodge and being 
> reported in other areas north of Cairns.
> Interesting to know if birds with these features have  been seen further 
> south These are just a few of our observations showing variability in these 
> birds.
> We are not saying Black-winged Monarch is not here but we have not seen one 
> yet which fits all the ID features of black-winged.
> Cheers,
> Keith & Lindsay.
> -- 
>      Keith & Lindsay Fisher
>      Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge
>      RN 6 Mt. Kooyong Road
>      Julatten QLD 4871
>      Ph : (07) 4094 1263
>      Web Site:
>      Blog:
> Winner: Wet Tropics 2010 Cassowary Award for Nature Based Tourism
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