Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher

Terpsiphone bourbonnensis

Photo: Dr. Philips Edwards

Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher

Species type: Bird
Species (Common name): Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher, Paradise Flycatcher, Coque des Bois, Zoiseau la Vierge
Scientific name: Terpsiphone bourbonnensis
Endemism: Endemic to Mauritius and Réunion
Conservation status: Least concern

Description: The strikingly beautiful Mascarene paradise flycatcher is between 15-20 cm long including its long tail. The bird has chestnut upperparts and grey underparts. The males and females are quite easily distinguished with males having a characteristic blue-black cap while that of the female is grey. As indicated by its name, the Mascarene paradise flycatcher feeds mainly on insects.

Fun facts:

  1. This species is not considered vulnerable globally as it is common in large areas of native forest in Réunion. However, it has a restricted range in Mauritius where its population is believed to be decreasing.
  2. The male Mascarene paradise flycatchers found in Réunion have a much duller plumage than the male Mauritian birds.
  3. The large numbers of Mascarene paradise flycatchers found in Bras d’Eau National Park may be a consequence of large introduced trees such as Araucarias (Norfolk Island pines) which provide safe nesting sites as these trees are not good habitat for monkeys.