KC Tsang was recently out birding with wife Amy when they came across Black-naped Monarchs (Hypothymis azurea) nesting in Sukau and Gua Gomantong, Sabah.
“In all cases the monarch has the same or similar nesting defense strategy against predators. The nest is constructed resting on the upward pointing fork of a fairly thin hanging branch of the plant (left). The site of the nest is fairly distant from the next branch, thus not allowing a predator to launch itself horizontally onto the nesting bird. Having the nest on the thin hanging branches would allow the bird to feel the vibration of a predator descending onto the nest, and especially at night when snakes are most active hunting.”
The species of monarch is a resident of the rainforest of Borneo. The male has a beautiful azure-blue plumage, somewhat darker on the back and a narrow black band across the upper breast and a whitish belly and vent. The female appears like the male except the blue is duller and confined mainly to the head and the black breast-band is lacking. Because of the small size and the bright blue plumage, these birds have sometimes been referred to as blue fairies of the forest.
According to Symthies (1999), the bird builds a small, neat, cup-shaped nest of twigs, fine roots and fibres plastered together with the help of cobwebs. Nests are typically slung from a single hanging twig or creeper, or between two such slender verticals.
KC Tsang & Amy Tsang
Symthies, B. E. (1999). Birds of Borneo. Kota Kinabalu: Natural History Pub. (Borneo) Sdn. Bhd. & The Sabah Society. 4th ed, revised by G. W. H. Davison.