The Mascarene Paradise FlycatcherTerpsiphone bourbonnensis desolata

  • Forests
  • Mountain slopes and forests
  • Fauna
  • Native
  • Birds


The Mascarene paradise flycatcher Terpsiphone bourbonnensis, locally known as coq des bois is a bird, endemic to the Mascarene islands and belonging to the monarch-flycatcher family Monarchidae. T. b. desolata is the subspecies from Mauritius. The species measures between 15 and 20 centimeters in length and lacks the long tail that is common to many members of the same genus. The male is distinguished by its black head and wing tips while its neck, throat and belly are grey, and upperparts are chestnut. It has a bright-blue bill and greyish legs. Females have a dark grey head, a paler bill and are smaller. The Mauritius subspecies desolata is larger than its Reunionese counterpart and has brighter plumage.

Habitat and ecology

In Mauritius, the species is found in the intermediate native forests as well as pine tree forests where it appears that it prefers a closed canopy with limited undergrowth. Originally thought to be confined to the Bras d’Eau National Park and the Black River Gorges National Park, the species was recently sighted in the Southwest in the Bel Ombre vicinity. The bird feeds on insects such as beetles, flies, dragonflies, moths, grasshoppers and mayflies. Breeding occurs from August to February. Cone-shaped nests are made of a cup of moss, lichen and spiderwebs. The female lays two to three creamy or pink-white spotted eggs and incubation is done by both parents for 14 to 16 days. Chicks are fed by their parents for five weeks and stay in their parents’ territory for an additional 8 to 9 weeks following fledgling.


Conservation and management

The species is currently considered ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to its range size and population trend. Nevertheless, the Mascarene Flycatcher is not very common in Mauritius and steps have been taken in recent years to protect its habitat[1].


[1] BirdLife International. 2016.  Terpsiphone bourbonnensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22707140A94108226. Downloaded on 16 July 2018.

Did you know?

The flycatcher is a very territorial bird and is likely to swiftly chase away any intruder of the same species[1].