Black-naped Monarch   Hypothymis azurea

Etymology :

  • Hypothymis : Greek word  hupothumis-  unidentified bird
  • Azurea : Latin word azure-blue.

Vernacular Names: Hindi: Kala katkatia, Ben: Kala matha katkatia, Guj: Bhuro makhimar, Nil pankho Ta: Yeepidippan, Mal: Vel-neeli, Sinh: Nil-kurulla, Marawa, Nicobar: Kalong tesa, Mar: Kalya Manechi Alkashi Mashimar

Distribution in India: Resident in Andaman, East, South and parts of Central and West India.

Description: Size of 15-16cm. The male of nominate race has predominantly azure-blue plumage, somewhat darker on back, with black feathering at base of bill, black nuchal tuft, narrow black band across upper breast, whitish belly and vent; iris dark brown, eye wattle (greyish) cobalt-blue; bill blue, black tip, mouth apple-green; legs greyish to purplish-blue, soles yellow. Female is like male, but blue duller and restricted mainly to head, black nape patch and breast band lacking, upperparts brownish-grey, breast light blue-grey. It is active, always on the move, wings held drooped and tail partly fanned and cocked.

Habitat: It is found in broadleaf evergreen forest, semi-evergreen forest, deciduous forest and peat swamp-forest; well-wooded areas, secondary growth, overgrown plantations, island forest. It favors bamboo. In drier areas it prefers heavy foliage, usually along streams.

Food Habits: It eats Insects like small butterflies and moths and grasshoppers, also small beetles and bugs. It captures flying insects by making aerial sorties from perch; also hovers in front of leaves to disturb insects, and moves actively through foliage and branches. Leaf-gleaning more common than snatching for prey. It occasionally descends to ground to forage. Large prey items held under foot and torn to pieces before swallowing. It is found singly or in pairs, occasionally in family groups; joins mixed foraging flocks. It is often found in canopy, but also in bushes in understorey.

Breeding Habits: They breed in Mar-Sept in India.  They are monogamous; pair-bond lasts all year. The nest is a neat, cup-shaped, firmly constructed of twigs, plastered with cobweb and spider egg cases, lined with fine roots and fibers, sometimes untidy material dangling below usually placed in fork of tree branch, bush, large plant or bamboo. It lays a clutch of 2–4 eggs. The incubation is done by both adults for a period 14 days. Both the parents also brood and feed chicks, the female doing more of the work. The nestling period is 10 days. The young remain with parents for 40–60 days after leaving nest.