Amur Paradise Flycatcher

The Amur paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone incei), also known as the Chinese paradise flycatcher, is a species of paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphonidae) in the larger family monarchidae.

Description and Distribution

They are small, insectivorous birds occupying woodlands. Their main coloration includes a black head, grey neck and breast giving way to a white belly, and deep chestnut wings. There is also an exceedingly rare white morph of the bird, whose only color is its black head.

All paradise flycatchers are sexually dimorphic, the main distinguishing feature being the length of the tail on males. Males also have a slightly pronounced crest. The birds pictured here are either female or immature, judging by the modest tail and crest.

They breed in the area around northeastern China and winter in mainland Southeast Asia. There may be resident populations in parts of southern China, but in Hong Kong the bird appears primarily as a late summer/early autumn migrant. (Most paradise flycatchers, by contrast, are not migratory.)

Taxonomy and Evolution

Until 2015, the Amur paradise flycatcher, as well as Blyth’s paradise flycatcher, and the Indian paradise flycatcher were all treated as a single species called the Asian paradise flycatcher.

The larger family of monarchs, to which the Amur paradise flycatcher belongs, consists of over 100 species, all of which appear to have descended from a common crow-like ancestor, which also gave rise to drongos and fantails. Monarchidae were originally treated as a subfamily of drongos, although they are now treated as their own family given taxonomies of the superfamily Corvoidea.