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White Monjita - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies X. i. irupero
Photo © by James Faraco Amorim
Imbituba, SC, Brazil, 9 February 2005
Xolmis irupero


Length: 17-18 cm (6¾-7in. )
Male is pure white, black primaries, black tip to the tail, dark eyes, black legs, and a medium to short pointed bill. Female similar to male, but with faint gray wash on upperparts.

Similar Species

Black-and-white Monjita has black wings and gray smudging on its head.

Photo © by Stanley Jones
Ceibas Loop (Route 12 to 14 and back to Ceibas) Entre Ríos Province, Argentina, 2 October 2019


South Brazil, south-east Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and northern Argentina.


This is a polytypic species. Two subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • X. i. niveus: Smaller with more black in its tail.
E Brazil (Ceará and Pernambuco to Bahia and Minas Gerais)
  • X. i. irupero: Larger with less black.
SE Brazil to Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and n Argentina


Open and semi-open habitats with scattered trees or bushes and is often near water.



It perches conspicuously while looking for insect prey, before dropping to the ground to catch it. Flight is low, slow and quiet. It also performs aerial sallies when hunting, and can hover for long periods almost motionless.


Nests in cavities, a hole in tree or an abandoned nest of Rufous Hornero. Inside the cavity, the birds build a large open cup made with twigs and grass, and the interior is lined with finer materials such as feathers or hair. The female lays 3-4 white eggs with fine reddish and grey markings. The incubation lasts 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both adults, and fledge about 17 days after hatching.


Feeds exclusively on insects caught by aerial sallies from exposed perches.


Male's dawn song is a soft, repeated preeeyp tooit preeeyp tooit given during breeding season. Otherwise usually silent except for an occasional weak ghik and a plaintive piew.




  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Farnsworth, A. & Langham, G. (2019). White Monjita (Xolmis irupero). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/57428 on 13 January 2019).
  3. White Monjita (Xolmis irupero), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/whimon1

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