Ogea Monarch Mayrornis versicolor


Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Near Threatened. Although it has a tiny range and is potentially threatened by chance catastrophes, such as cyclones and the establishment of exotic predators (it almost meets the requirements for listing as Vulnerable under criterion D2), these threats are unlikely to drive the species to become Critically Endangered or Extinct in a short period.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,000-3,000 individuals, based on Watling (1988) and Andersen et al. (2012). This equates to 1,333-2,000 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,300-2,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species is tolerant of habitat degradation and does not appear to be declining despite the presence of introduced predators. Based on results from Andersen et al.'s (2012) survey, there appears to be no evidence for a population decline. Consequently, its population is suspected to be stable.

Distribution and population

This species is endemic to Ogea in the southern Lau Group, Fiji, occurring on the two principal islands, Ogea Levu and Ogea Driki (13 and 5 km2 respectively, 2 km apart), and on the smaller island of Dakuiyanuya (immediately adjacent to Ogea Levu). In 1986, it was estimated to have a total population of c.2,000 individuals (Watling 1988). Surveys conducted on Ogea Levu and Ogea Driki in July 2011 (following Watling's [1988] methodology) recorded 49 individuals, equating to 19.22 per 10 ha (Andersen et al. 2012), compared with 10.68 per 10 ha in 1986 (Watling 1988). Crude extrapolation from these data yields a current estimate of 3,204 individuals compared with 1,780 in 1986 (Watling 1988). However, this is based on surveys conducted over three days and so it is difficult to draw firm conclusions about the true population size and whether this apparent change in the population size represents a genuine increase or simple variation in the population.


It is restricted to forest (possibly preferring the more limited successional and edge habitats). It feeds on insects. It has been observed to be territorial, but little is known of its breeding ecology; a recently fledged juvenile has been observed in July and it is possible that breeding was well under way at this time (Watling 1988). Its ecological separation from M. lessoni is unknown. Andersen et al. (2012) reported that the species is most often observed in groups of 2-3 individuals, possibly representing family groups, and are often in mixed-species foraging flocks in the sub-canopy.


There are no indications that it (or the forests) have been greatly affected by the cyclones of 1973, 1975, 1979 or 1985. Forest clearance is unlikely to occur on these limestone islands since the soil is too poor for agriculture or even coconut plantations. While selective timber-felling for house construction and traditional crafts may increase, this is unlikely to affect the species, which may even benefit from an increase in secondary habitat (Watling 1988). There is some evidence of occasional hybridisation with the more widespread M. lessoni (Mayr 1933b), although it is unlikely that this is a significant threat. Its population appears to have been stable since 1986, despite the occurrence of invasive feral cats (Felis catus) and rats (Rattus spp.) (Andersen et al. 2012). Swamp Harrier Circus approximans and Barn Owl Tyto alba are potential predators (Watling 1988). Given the remoteness of the island group there are no grounds to suspect there will be subsequent invasions by new mammalian predators e.g. Small Asian Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus).

Conservation actions

Conservation and Research Actions Underway
It is protected under Fijian law. Vulaga island is a possible translocation island (as M. lessoni does not occur there) if a critical situation should arise on Ogea Levu (Watling 1988).

Conservation and Research Actions Proposed
Resurvey the islands. Assess population densities in forest and degraded forest. Investigate hybridisation with M. lessoni. Use as a figurehead species for conservation on Ogea Levu. Advocate strong quarantine controls to prevent the establishment of exotic predators. Control existing feral predators.


12 cm. Small, delicate, greyish monarch. Dark slaty-grey upperparts. Rufous wash on tail, tipped with buff. Dull pinkish-cinnamon underparts, paler on the throat. Similar spp. Sympatric with Slaty Monarch M. lessoni, which has slaty-grey upperparts, pale grey underparts and white-tipped black tail. Voice Chattering vocalizations similar to Slaty Monarch. Hints Can be seen in any forest area on Ogea Levu and Ogea Driki.


Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Shutes, S., Stattersfield, A. & Ashpole, J

Watling, D. & Bird, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Mayrornis versicolor. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2022.