The Grey Fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa) is an agile fanned tailed bird found throughout Australia, with plenty of aerial twists and turns in its repertoire. An inquisitive species they will often approach an observer.

The Grey Fantail can be found in most habitats with trees, national park, botsanic gardens and densely planted urban gardens. They can often be seen in eucalypt trees. They feed on variety of insects, seen chasing them from the foliage in the tree canopy.

This species has mid-to-dark grey, sometimes grey-brown above plumage. They are lighter yellowish to orange colour below, a white throat and white markings over the eye. There is a thin black border between the white of the throat and chest. The wing bars are pale and narrow. Their tail feathers can be either white-edged or entirely white out tail feathers depending on the race. The tail is often displayed fanned out, and makes up half the size length of the bird. The outer tail feathers are light, whilst the centre ones are dark, although some races, such as keasti, have a darker plumage.

They nest in the tree-fork, unusually at least 2 metres above ground, with both parents share the nest-building. The nest is made of grass that is bound together with spider webs. The nest is cup shaped with a base that is drawn out into a long stem resembling a wine-glass. Incubating the eggs and feeding the young is shared by both parent birds.

Images © Dorothy L

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Rhipiduridae
  • Genus: Rhipidura
  • Species: R. albiscapa
  • Binomial name: Rhipidura albiscapa
  • Synonyms: Rhipidura fuliginosa