Black Paradise Flycatcher

Scientific Name: Terpsiphone atrocaudata

Malay Name: Murai-Gading Ungu

Chinese Name: 紫寿带

Alternative Name(s): Japanese Paradise Flycatcher

Range: Found from Japan, Korea, Taiwan to Northern Philippines, wintering to China, Hong Kong mainland South-east Asia, Sumatra and Philippines.

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: atrocaudata, illex, periophthalmica.

Local Subspecies: atrocaudata

Size: 18-20 cm

Identification: Male resembles Amur and Blyth's Paradise Flycatcher but head and breast all black, mantle glossy dark purple, belly whitish, and tail can extend up to 23 cm or more. Female very similar to Oriental Paradise Flycatcher but upperbreast more brownish tinted, belly more white, upperparts duller (never distinctly bright rufous-chestnut). The margin between the breast and belly resembles an inverted “U”.

Similar looking species: Blyth's Paradise Flycatcher, Amur Paradise Flycatcher, Indian Paradise Flycatcher

Habitat: Any wooded habitat ranging from broadleaved evergreen forest to secondary growth, mangroves, parks and gardens.

Behaviour/Ecology: Feed on a variety of insects taken in sallies from a perch or snatched as they flush. Usually forage high up the canopy.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Near Threatened (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Suitable wooded areas like Central Catchment Forest, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Bidadari, Japanese/Chinese Garden, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Bishan Park, Tuas South, Sungei Buloh and Pulau Hantu.

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Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Black Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata
Estimated average number of individuals by week based on eBird data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023
Peak week Nov 19-Nov 25
Early date 27 Sep 2019
Late date 24 Apr 2021
Scarce and mostly observed during the fall passage from late Oct to Nov, with a smaller peak in the spring. Long-tailed males are spectacular; females and immatures are less so, and slightly difficult to separate from the other paradise flycatchers.


BirdLife International. (2016). Terpsiphone atrocaudata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

Wells, D. R. (1999). The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula (Vol. 1). Academic Press, London.

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