The monarchs (family Monarchidae) comprise a family of over 100 passerine birds which includes shrikebills, paradise flycatchers, and magpie-larks.
Monarchids are small insectivorous songbirds with long tails. They inhabit forest or woodland across sub-Saharan Africa, south-east Asia, Australasia and a number of Pacific islands. Only a few species migrate. Many species decorate their cup-shaped nests with lichen.
The monarchs have a mostly Old World distribution. In the western end of their range they are distributed through sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and the islands of the tropical Indian Ocean. They also occur in South and Southeastern Asia, north to Japan, down to New Guinea and most of Australia. The family has managed to reach many Pacific islands, and several endemic genera occur across Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia as far as Hawaii and the Marquesas.
The paradise flycatchers of the genus Terpsiphone have the widest distribution of any of the monarchs, ranging across almost all of sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, the Mascarenes and Seychelles, southern and eastern Asia as far as Korea, Afghanistan, the Philippines and the Lesser Sundas. The other paradise flycatcher genus, Trochocercus, is restricted to Africa. The other exclusively Asian genus is the Hypothymis monarchs. The remaining genera are predominantly found in the Austro-Papuan and Oceania regions. A few monotypic genera are restricted to Pacific islands; these include the Chuuk monarch (Metabolus) in the Micronesian island of Chuuk, the Hawaiian Elepaio (Chasiempis) and the buff-bellied monarch (Neolalage) which is restricted to the islands of Vanuatu. Other Pacific genera are the shrikebills (Clytorhynchus) and the Mayrornis monarchs, both of which are found in Melanesia and west Polynesia, and the Pomarea monarchs which are exclusively Polynesian in origin.
The majority of the family is found in forest and woodland habitats. Species that live in more open woodlands tend to live in the higher levels of the trees but, in denser forest, live in the middle and lower levels. Other habitats used by the monarchs include savannah and mangroves, and the terrestrial magpie-lark occurs in most Australian habitats except the driest deserts.
While the majority of monarchs are resident, a few species are partially migratory and one, the satin flycatcher, is fully migratory, although the Japanese paradise flycatcher is almost entirely migratory. The African paradise flycatcher makes a series of poorly understood intra-African migratory movements.