Did you know in some Māori mythologies, fantail birds can symbolize the presence of bad luck or death. The rufous fantail(Rhipidura rufifrons) is a small native bird of Australia with a colorful body and a fanned tail. Fantail birds have 18 subspecies under them. The rufous-tailed fantail range map distribution is in Australia's northern and eastern coastal range, more common in the north, New Guinea, Indonesia, Sulawesi, Guam, and many more places in the world. These birds live in a native habitat of rainforests and swampy woodlands. They build cup shape nests on the tree fork and feed on insects on the ground or in foliage. They have bright reddish-colored foreheads, gray-brown upper bodies, and white-tipped tails. On seeking a description about the bird's behavior, it is noticed the rufous fantail split their tail feathers and constantly fan them while foraging. They are related as social birds as they live with their co-species and are also seen near human activities. These birds are very hyperactive, flitting close to the ground in small flocks in search of food. They also sing while resting.
A rufous fantail is a small perching bird. These birds are also known as black-breasted rufous-fantail flycatchers, wood flycatchers, rufous-backed fantails, allied flycatchers, red fantails, and rufous flycatchers. The rufous fantail's scientific name is Rhipidura rufifrons.
A rufous fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons) belongs to the class of Aves, order Passeriformes, the family Rhipiduridae, and the genus Rhipidura.
As the rufous fantail range map is extensive, their population size has not been evaluated. However, their population is reducing but not at a slow enough rate to be marked as vulnerable species worldwide.
Rufous fantails (Rhipidura rufifrons) are found in the northern and eastern coastal range of Australia concentrated in the north region, southeast Asia, the oceanic regions of Micronesia and Melanesia, Lesser Sunda, the Maluku Islands of Indonesia, southern New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Guam.
Rufous fantail birds have a native habitat that includes rainforests, dense forests with wetlands, mangroves, and muddy woodlands. They are often seen close to the ground area and might be found in more open habitats or urban areas during migration.
The rufous-fronted fantail lives with other species of birds from the same order, Passeriformes, that is, birds perching on the trees from their native land, Australia. Some of them are the spectacled monarch bird, the little shrike thrush bird, and flycatchers like the scissor-tailed flycatcher.
The life expectancy of rufous fantails is very low, and they hardly live for two years or at most three years in some cases.
The breeding season of this bird is from November to March. They are mostly monogamous, breeding in pairs. The male bird sings to attract the female bird. Once the pair is formed, both the birds build their small compact cup shape like nest bound with fine grasses and bound in spider webs, and the nest is hanging from a tree fork, 16.4 ft (5 m) above the ground with the bottom of it drawn out into a long stem. The female lays three to four eggs with light brown or purplish-black spots. Both the parents incubate the eggs for 15-17 days and also take care of the young broods for four to five weeks until they fly.
The conservation status of rufous fantails is of Least Concern for now, according to the IUCN, but their population is slowly reducing. Loss of dense and moist rainforest providing feeding and breeding habitat, through intensive land clearing and urbanization, especially in forest scraps and corridors along the species migration paths, are some of the threats faced by the rufous fantail.
Rufous fantails are small-sized birds. The bird's physical description is bright red-brown colored forehead with a whitish arc underneath their eyes. The crown, face, neck, and shoulders have gray-brown plumage, with the shading of red-brown on the lower back, rump, and parts of the upper tail feathers. The chin and throat areas are white-colored, with dappled black and white breast, and the rest of the underbody is white mixed with a red-brown hue. The base of their fanned tail may be reddish-brown or sometimes dark gray and white-tipped, also the wings are gray-brown. The eyes, bill, and thin feet are black-brown-colored. The males and females have look-alike plumage, except the females have a smaller body, and the juveniles usually have dull-colored bodies and marginally brown tails, wings, and underpants. They are more colorful when compared to rufous fantail Arafura birds.
They have a colorful body and a fanned-out tail which is uniformly fanning that gives the fantails an adorable look and is considered cute.
A rufous fantail makes sounds such as chips, buzzes, or scolds. Their 'chip call' is often attracting the spectator's attention. This call is thin but high-pitched, with a two-chip sound in quick succession. In the breeding period, the male birds sing songs to display courtship to the opposite sex.
A mature rufous fantail can grow up to 5.7 - 7.3 in (14.5–18.5 cm) in length and wingspan of 7-8.8 in (18– 22.4 cm).
Rufous fantail birds are very swift and have fast movement. Though their flying speed has not been recorded yet, we can consider them fast enough depending on their flitting behavior and long-distance travel during migration.
Rufous fantails, on average, weigh 0.35 oz (10 g). They are small and lightweight birds. Thus they are swift and are flitting from place to place.
The males and females of this bird have no specific name allocated to them. The male birds are almost identical to the females. The females are slightly smaller in size.
Baby rufous fantails are called hatchlings, chicks, or nestlings after they are hatched from the egg. Their parents take the young birds for a few weeks until they abandon the nest.
Rufous fantails (Rhipidura rufifrons) are insectivores, mostly foraging in the canopy and mid or lower strata of rainforests. They prey on insects like black carpenter ants, butterflies, and termites by primarily hunting them in flight near the ground or in foliage. These birds are very active in feeding and constantly fan their tail and flick wings and bodies while foraging.
No, this bird is not dangerous at all. They have a social and friendly nature. Also, the birds do not have a physical structure that might cause a threat to us, humans.
They are often kept as pets. They are interesting to watch as these birds are always restless and are in constant movement. Also, the bird's song is a sweet treat to the listeners.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
The rufous fantail includes 18 recognized subspecies, all related to each other. They are seasonal birds, flying to southeastern Australia in the spring and then returning to the north during March and April, in the autumn. It is very difficult to take a photo of rufous fantails as they are a restless species of bird.
Yes, the fantails may lose some of their tail feathers due to constant fanning in search of food. The birds fan their tail to disturb the insects, forcing them to come out from their hideout.
Yes, rufous fantails do lay three to four eggs in a clutch.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our toco toucan fun facts and giant cowbird interesting facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable rufous fantail bird coloring pages.
Second image by Greg Miles.