Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Grey Fantail
Rhipidura albiscapa
(Viewing 4 of 19 photos)

Click to listen to sound sample Grey Fantails of one form or another occur virtually all over Australia at one time or another, except in the open deserts - there are six subspecies accepted at present and they breed in quite distinct breeding ranges which collectively, amount to quite a small part of Australia - it's where all these birds wander in winter that spreads them all over. Some field guides in their tiny little distribution maps attempt to explain all this but it is so complicated that it needs bigger figures and some text to explain. For anyone really interested in this sort of thing it's clearly laid out on pages 481-483 of The Directory of Australian Birds by Schodde and Mason.

If you live in southern Victoria and in autumn see some very dark Grey Fantails arrive, chances are they are the subpecies "albiscapa" from Tasmania which migrate north in winter (pics 361208 to 211). Much further north, on the highlands of NE Queensland a very dark form "keasti" occurs in and around the rainforests (Pics 361213 and 214). At the other extreme, the palest subspecies occur in W.A.; "preissii" in the humid SW corner (361002) and the distinct and largely white-tailed "albicauda" (regarded by some as a species!) in the dry interior, a bird I haven't caught up with or photographed yet. The form with the widest breeding range, "alisteri" occupies coastal and sub-coastal SE Australia from Eyre peninsula in S.A. right through to Rockhampton.(361216 & 217). The remaining subpecies occurs on Norfolk Island.

Photo: 361002

361002 ... Grey Fantail, Perth, W.A.

Photo: 361003

361003 ... Grey Fantail

Photo: 361204

361204 ... Grey Fantail

Photo: 361205

361205 ... Grey Fantail nest and eggs

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