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Black-and-white Monjita Xolmis dominicanus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is classified as Vulnerable because the extent of habitat modification within its range indicates that it is undergoing a rapid population reduction. Threats appear to be increasing, and the rapid growth of the forestry industry in Argentina is particularly concerning.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Taxonomic note
Gender agreement of species name follows David and Gosselin (2002b).

Heteroxolmis dominicana Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Heteroxolmis dominicana Collar et al. (1994), Heteroxolmis dominicana BirdLife International (2000), Xolmis dominicana Stotz et al. (1996), Xolmis dominicana BirdLife International (2004), Xolmis dominicana Collar and Andrew (1988)

20.5 cm. Striking, piebald tyrant-flycatcher. Male white, with contrasting black wings and tail. White wing-tips especially visible in flight. Female similar, with brownish-grey crown, hindneck and centre of back. Similar spp. White Monjita Xolmis irupero is smaller, with black-tipped white tail and much less black on wings. Voice Mostly silent. Occasionally delivers soft calls.

Distribution and population
Xolmis dominicanus occurs in Brazil (São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul), Uruguay (recently from Paysandú, Canelones, Lavalleja, Maldonado, Rocha, Treinta y Tres and Cerro Largo [A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000, Codesido and Fraga 2009]), Argentina (recently from Corrientes, Entre Ríos and Buenos Aires [Fraga 2003, Codesido and Fraga 2009) and there are unconfirmed reports for Paraguay (Contreras 1995). It has undergone a catastrophic decline since c.1850. The current stronghold is possibly south-east Uruguay, where the population is estimated at 1,500-2,200 breeding birds, mostly in Rocha (A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000). In Brazil, it remains numerous only in south-east Santa Catarina, and north-east and south-east Rio Grande do Sul. It has declined notably in Argentina, especially in Buenos Aires, where it was previously common (Narosky and DiGiacomo 1993), and most records are now in Corrientes and Entre Ríos (Pearman and Abadie 1995, Fraga 2003, Codesido and Fraga 2009). Although populations may still persist in southern Misiones, there are no recent reliable records from Santa Fe, Chaco or Formosa (Fraga 2003).

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
This species's population is suspected to be declining rapidly, in line with rates of habitat loss within its range.

It inhabits scrubby grasslands, especially near marshes. In Entre Ríos and Corrientes, it has occurred in old paddy-fields that were unused for over five years (Pearman and Abadie 1995), and it occasionally visits cultivations with Saffron-cowled Blackbird Xanthopsar flavus. In Corrientes, it is relatively common in recently burnt areas (J. C. Chebez in litt. 1999). Nests have been found in vegetation within boggy swales (Suertegaray Fontana 1997, A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000). Breeding activity in Argentina has been noted during September-December (Fraga 2003).

Agriculture, and especially livestock-grazing, has modified grasslands since the 16th century, and intensely since the 1870s (Bucher and Nores 1988). Very recently, afforestation with non-native trees has begun to radically alter remaining grasslands, especially in Entre Ríos and Corrientes (Pearman and Abadie 1995). Anthropogenic fires have destroyed nests (A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000). In Uruguay, one study has shown very high levels of brood-parasitism by Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis (A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000).

Conservation Actions Underway
In Argentina, it has been recorded in Chaco, Mburucuyá and El Palmar National Parks, San Juan Poriahú and Campos del Tuyú Private Reserves and Ribera Norte Municipal Reserve (Chebez et al. 1998), but only a few of these protected areas support significant breeding populations (Fraga 2003). In Brazil, it is known from Aparados da Serra and São Joaquim National Parks, the general area of Serra Geral National Park (Parker and Goerck 1997, Bencke and Kindel 1999), and Taim Ecological Station (Mahler et al. 1996). In Uruguay, it is legally protected, and resident in Bañados del Este Biosphere Reserve and Laguna de Castillos, Potrerillo de Santa Teresa and Los Indios Reserves (A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000). Conservation Actions Proposed
Study its ecology to establish appropriate land-management practices. Remove incentives for planting trees on grasslands. Protect key populations in Corrientes and Rio Grande do Sul. Assess the impact of brood-parasitism by M. bonariensis (A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000). The following has been proposed from fieldwork in the Aguapey river basin in Corrientes province, Argentina: maintain the current connectivity of grasslands so that there is a functional corridor for this and other fauna; create new protected areas to include the better conserved habitats along complete vegetation and topographic gradients; design integrated land use plans to conserve the remaining biodiversity in conjunction with a variety of agricultural activities; avoid large (>50 ha) blocks of forest plantation to ensure connectivity between open habitats; halt government support for afforestation projects that lack and adequate land use plan that includes the requirements for threatened species conservation and long-term monitoring of grassland bird populations; and carry out more detailed studies on the breeding biology, habitat use, and movements of populations of threatened grassland birds so that critical habitat patches can be identified. (Di Giacomo et al. 2010).

Bencke, G. A.; Kindel, A. 1999. Bird counts along an altitudinal gradient of Atlantic forest in northeastern Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Ararajuba 7(2): 91-107.

Bucher, E. H.; Nores, M. 1988. Present status of birds in steppes and savannas of northern and central Argentina. In: Goriup, P.D. (ed.), Ecology and conservation of grassland birds, pp. 71-79. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Chebez, J. C.; Rey, N. R.; Barbaskas, M.; Di Giacomo, A. G. 1998. Las aves de los Parques Nacionales de la Argentina. Literature of Latin America, Buenos Aries.

Codesido, M.; Fraga, R. M. 2009. Distributions of threatened grassland passerines of Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay, with new locality records and notes on their natural history and habitat. Ornitologia Neotropical 20: 585-595.

Contreras, J. R. 1995. Heteroxolmis dominicana (Veillot, 1823) en la República del Paraguay (Aves: Tyrannidae). Nótulas Faunísticas 76: 1-3.

Fontana, C. S. 1997. Description of the nest and eggs of the Black-and-white Monjita Heteroxolmis dominicana. Cotinga: 79-81.

Fraga, R. M. 2003. Distribution, natural history and conservation of the Black-and white Monjita (Heteroxolmis dominicana) in Argentina, a species vulnerable to extinction. Ornitologia Neotropical 14: 145-156.

Mahler, J. K. F. J.; Kindel, A.; Kindel, E. A. I. 1996. Lista comentada das espécies da Estaçao Ecológica do Taim, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil. Acta Biologica Leopoldensia 18: 69-103.

Narosky, T.; Di Giacomo, A. G. 1993. Las aves de la provincia de Buenos Aires: distribución y estatus. Asociacion Ornitológica del Plata, Buenos Aires.

Parker, T. A.; Goerck, J. M. 1997. The importance of national parks and biological reserves to bird conservation in the Atlantic forest region of Brazil. Ornithological Monographs 48: 527-542.

Pearman, M.; Abadie, E. I. Undated. Mesopotamia grasslands and wetlands survey, 1991--1993: conservation of threatened birds and habitat in north-east Argentina.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Capper, D., Harding, M., Mazar Barnett, J., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Williams, R.

Azpiroz, A., Chebez, J., Laesser, J., Olmos, F., del Castillo, H., Fraga, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Xolmis dominicanus. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Black-and-white monjita (Xolmis dominicanus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Tyrannidae (Tyrant-flycatchers)
Species name author (Vieillot, 1823)
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 130,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species