In a small remnant of shady woodland in Brad’s teenage stomping ground of Georges Hall, we saw and photographed our first ever Rufous Fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons) – pretty, dainty, and hyperactive.
The males and females are identical, though the females tend to be slightly smaller. We automatically started calling this one “she” – but maybe that’s just us.
They eat insects, and will fly low through the understorey in a jerky, flitting, looping flight, flying with their tails fanned – it is thought to help flush out insects, which they will then forage in flight.
Just before this girl perched on this branch, she was acrobatically flying around our knees picking insects out of the air.
When perched, their tails are almost always fanned as well.
They are reportedly migratory, travelling to south-eastern Australia in the spring to breed, and then north in the autumn. Given this was mid-April in Sydney, we assume autumn is getting milder and later.
According to bird experts, the population is thought to be declining, probably due to logging, but not so rapidly that they are thought to be vulnerable yet.
The patch of bush where we found her had been heavily burned by a (deliberately-lit) fire in January 2020. Good to see that enough habitat remains to keep these birds in the area.
We were pretty enchanted by the Rufous Fantail and her colours and markings, and will go back to the same location soon to see if we can get more pics.