White Monjita Xolmis irupero


Largely or entirely white birds are rare and most are associated with Polar Regions. This makes this endearing flycatcher all the more striking, a bold white bird perched on an obvious branch in the middle of the savanna! White Monjitas do stand out, and are a species that can be considered “unmistakable” although in parts of the range the nearly white Black-and-white Monjita can be found as well. Why White Monjitas are white is a good question, one could propose a sexually selected trait although the typical pattern of sexually selected traits is that only one sex has them. The White Monjita on the other hand has both males and females equally white and obvious, although females are a tad duller with some grey wash on the upperparts. Their posture, thickset body proportions, general size and even the habitats it chooses and the favored perches suggest a North American bluebird (Sialia sp.), although in an all-white plumage. Like a bluebird it forages often by flying out and hovering over potential prey before pouncing on it on the ground, or by directly sallying to the ground to make its catch. The White Monjita is widespread from central Bolivia south to central Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and southern Brazil. A separate and isolated population (subspecies nivea) is found in easternmost Brazil; based on biogeographical considerations it may be a good species pending research on its voice and genetics.

Help complete this species

There are many ways to contribute—we need species information, photographs, audio, video, translations, maps, distribution data, and bird sightings. There's a role for everyone!

Learn more


© Natxo Areta

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

White Monjita (Xolmis irupero), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/whimon1