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Black-headed Whistler - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Black-backed Whistler

Pachycephala monacha


15 - 16cm.

  • Black head and neck
  • Brownish-black upperparts with paler and greyer rump
  • Black chin, throat and upper breast
  • White rests of underparts
  • Dark brown eye
  • Black bill

Females are mainly blackish-grey with white belly and lower breast. Lugubris is darker than nominate.


Found in New Guinea and on Aru Islands off southwest New Guinea.
Common and widespread in some parts of its range, scarce in others.


Two subspecies recognized:

Lugubris is sometimes referred to as dorsalis, but the older name lugubris has priority.
Forms a superspecies with Drab Whistler, Rufous Whistler, White-bellied Whistler and Wallacean Whistler and has been considered conspecific with some of them. Hybrids with White-bellied Whistler recorded.


Forest edges, plantations, gardens and villages. Found at 550 - 1980m, mainly above 1000m. Locally also in lowlands.


Feeds on insects.
Breeding recorded in October and January. The nest is a cup made of vegetable matter. It's placed 6 - 25m above the ground in a tree fork.
Resident species.


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553422

Recommended Citation

External Links

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