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Black-backed Monarch Monarcha julianae
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is listed as Vulnerable as it is thought to have a small population which is undergoing a continuing decline owing to slash-and-burn agriculture and selective logging. More detailed information on the population size may lead to the threat category being revised.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Distribution and population
Monarcha julianae is endemic to the 144-km2 island of Kofiau in the West Papuan islands off north-west Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), Indonesia, where it is common and widespread in lowland forest, including secondary forest (Beehler et al. 1986, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994). However, most of Kofiau has been selectively logged since the 1970s, and there is currently no protected area (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, 2000). The remaining forest is declining in area, and although the species is tolerant of selective logging, the population is suspected to be declining.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
Although the species persists in traditional gardens, it is most common in closed-canopy primary and secondary forest. Such forests are declining in area owing to slash-and-burn agriculture and selective logging (Diamond et al. 2009), thus it is suspected that the species is undergoing an unquantified rate of decline.

This species is most common in primary and closed-canopy secondary forest, where is has been described as abundant. Adults also persist in traditional shaded subsistence gardens, although the ability of these gardens to support the species is unknown. It can generally be found at heights of 1-30 m, foraging within trees, rather than at the tips of branches, by hover-gleaning, making quick short hops along a branch, and working vertically up a tree or vine (Diamond et al. 2009).

Much of Kofiau has been selectively logged, and currently the island has no protected area (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, 2000). The remaining forest is in decline owing to slash-and-burn agriculture, both for subsistence gardens and coconut groves, and small-scale timber extraction (Diamond et al. 2009). Agricultural clearings are estimated to have increased by 30% between 2002 and 2007 (Diamond et al. 2009). Having a distribution on relatively low-lying islands, this species is potentially susceptible to climate change through sea-level rise and shifts in suitable climatic conditions (BirdLife International unpublished data).

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species. Conservation Actions Proposed
Study its ecological requirements and tolerance of degraded habitats. Obtain an accurate population estimate and set up population monitoring to assess trends. Protect a core area of remaining lowland forest.

Beehler, B. M.; Pratt, T. K.; Zimmerman, D. A. 1986. Birds of New Guinea. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Diamond, J., Mauro, I., Bishop, K.D. and Wijaya, L. 2009. The avifauna of Kofiau Island, Indonesia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 129(3): 165-181.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

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
Calvert, R., Taylor, J.

Beehler, B., Bishop, K.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Monarcha julianae. 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 - Kofiau monarch (Monarcha julianae) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Monarchidae (Monarchs)
Species name author Ripley, 1959
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 144 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species