Black-and-white Monjita Xolmis dominicanus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Vulnerable because the extent of habitat modification within its range indicates that it is undergoing a rapid population reduction. Threats appear to be increasing, and the rapid growth of the forestry industry in Argentina is particularly concerning.

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
This species's population is suspected to be declining rapidly, in line with rates of habitat loss within its range.

Distribution and population

Xolmis dominicanus occurs in Brazil (São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul), Uruguay (recently from Paysandú, Canelones, Lavalleja, Maldonado, Rocha, Treinta y Tres and Cerro Largo [A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000, Codesido and Fraga 2009]), Argentina (recently from Corrientes, Entre Ríos and Buenos Aires [Fraga 2003, Codesido and Fraga 2009) and there are unconfirmed reports for Paraguay (Contreras 1995). It has undergone a catastrophic decline since c.1850. The current stronghold is possibly south-east Uruguay, where the population is estimated at 1,500-2,200 breeding birds, mostly in Rocha (A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000). In Brazil, it remains numerous only in south-east Santa Catarina, and north-east and south-east Rio Grande do Sul. It has declined notably in Argentina, especially in Buenos Aires, where it was previously common (Narosky and DiGiacomo 1993), and most records are now in Corrientes and Entre Ríos (Pearman and Abadie 1995, Fraga 2003, Codesido and Fraga 2009). Although populations may still persist in southern Misiones, there are no recent reliable records from Santa Fe, Chaco or Formosa (Fraga 2003).


It inhabits scrubby grasslands, especially near marshes. In Entre Ríos and Corrientes, it has occurred in old paddy-fields that were unused for over five years (Pearman and Abadie 1995), and it occasionally visits cultivations with Saffron-cowled Blackbird Xanthopsar flavus. In Corrientes, it is relatively common in recently burnt areas (J. C. Chebez in litt. 1999). Nests have been found in vegetation within boggy swales (Suertegaray Fontana 1997, A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000). Breeding activity in Argentina has been noted during September-December (Fraga 2003).


Agriculture, and especially livestock-grazing, has modified grasslands since the 16th century, and intensely since the 1870s (Bucher and Nores 1988). Very recently, afforestation with non-native trees has begun to radically alter remaining grasslands, especially in Entre Ríos and Corrientes (Pearman and Abadie 1995). Anthropogenic fires have destroyed nests (A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000). In Uruguay, one study has shown very high levels of brood-parasitism by Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis (A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
In Argentina, it has been recorded in Chaco, Mburucuyá and El Palmar National Parks, San Juan Poriahú and Campos del Tuyú Private Reserves and Ribera Norte Municipal Reserve (Chebez et al. 1998), but only a few of these protected areas support significant breeding populations (Fraga 2003). In Brazil, it is known from Aparados da Serra and São Joaquim National Parks, the general area of Serra Geral National Park (Parker and Goerck 1997, Bencke and Kindel 1999), and Taim Ecological Station (Mahler et al. 1996). In Uruguay, it is legally protected, and resident in Bañados del Este Biosphere Reserve and Laguna de Castillos, Potrerillo de Santa Teresa and Los Indios Reserves (A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Study its ecology to establish appropriate land-management practices. Remove incentives for planting trees on grasslands. Protect key populations in Corrientes and Rio Grande do Sul. Assess the impact of brood-parasitism by M. bonariensis (A. B. Azpiroz in litt. 2000). The following has been proposed from fieldwork in the Aguapey river basin in Corrientes province, Argentina: maintain the current connectivity of grasslands so that there is a functional corridor for this and other fauna; create new protected areas to include the better conserved habitats along complete vegetation and topographic gradients; design integrated land use plans to conserve the remaining biodiversity in conjunction with a variety of agricultural activities; avoid large (>50 ha) blocks of forest plantation to ensure connectivity between open habitats; halt government support for afforestation projects that lack and adequate land use plan that includes the requirements for threatened species conservation and long-term monitoring of grassland bird populations; and carry out more detailed studies on the breeding biology, habitat use, and movements of populations of threatened grassland birds so that critical habitat patches can be identified. (Di Giacomo et al. 2010).


20.5 cm. Striking, piebald tyrant-flycatcher. Male white, with contrasting black wings and tail. White wing-tips especially visible in flight. Female similar, with brownish-grey crown, hindneck and centre of back. Similar spp. White Monjita Xolmis irupero is smaller, with black-tipped white tail and much less black on wings. Voice Mostly silent. Occasionally delivers soft calls.


Text account compilers
Symes, A., Pople, R., Mazar Barnett, J., Capper, D., Sharpe, C.J., Harding, M., Wheatley, H., Williams, R.

del Castillo, H., Laesser, J., Olmos, F., Fraga, R., Azpiroz, A., Chebez, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Xolmis dominicanus. Downloaded from on 09/12/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 09/12/2022.