Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Rhipidura javanica (Sparrman, 1788)

Species:R. javanica
Common Names:Pied Fantail
Status:Common resident


It has a short, broad bill with long bristles.

Size 19 cm.

Read more about the Passeriformes order.
Read more about the Rhipiduridae family.

General Biology

This is a noisy bird which is frequently encountered in mangroves, occasionally in open country habitats, mature gardens and orchards. It is very restless and hops among bushes, and moves in a jerky manner, constantly opening and closing its long tail. The fanning movement is a foraging strategy, to displace insects out of hiding.

It can be quite aggressive, as to mob an Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) when it came too near to its nest.

The Pied Fantail is host to the Rusty-breasted Cuckoo (Cacomantis sepulcralis). The latter lays an egg in the fantail's nest and allows it to incubate and look aftet the chick, feeding it until itis able to fend for itself. It is an unusual sight to see a small fantail feeding a larger chick inthe wild.

Given the opportunity the fantail will always take a bath after which it will shake off the extra water and preen itself.


Feeds on insects like dragonflies, etc., by catching them in mid-air, or sometimes picking up ants and other insects on the ground.

Life Cycle

Nest construction takes about 13 days, undertaken by by both sexes, using spider silk and possible silk from insect pupae to stick the materials together. Incubation period is 12-15 days and fledging 14-15days after the chicks are hatched. Feeding of the nestlings has been documented HERE.

Related Images

Related Sounds


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