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Scientific name: Rhipidura fuliginosa
Description: The Grey Fantail is most easily recognised by its constantly fanned tail and agile aerial twists and turns. Both sexes are similar in appearance: grey above, with white eyebrow, throat and tail edges. This species is quite inquisitive and will closely approach an observer.
Similar species: Willie Wagtail, Rufous Fantail
Distribution: The Grey Fantail is found throughout Australia.
Habitat: The Grey Fantail is found in most treed habitats.
Seasonal movements: Appears to undergo a partial northern migration during winter.
Feeding: The Grey Fantail feeds on flying insects, which it catches by chasing them from the edge of foliage at all levels in the canopy.
Breeding: The Grey Fantail builds its nest in a thin tree-fork, unusually between 2 and 5 metres from the ground. It is made of fine grass bound together with large amounts of spider web. The bottom of the nest is drawn out into a long stem, resembling that of a wine-glass. Both parents share nest-building, incubation of the eggs and feeding of the young when they hatch.
Living with humans: The Grey Fantail occasionally visits densely-planted urban gardens, particularly during the winter migration. Often makes use of eucalypt trees.
References: Boles, W.E. 1988. The Robins and Flycatchers of Australia. Angus and Robertson and The National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.
Pizzey, G. and Knight, F. 1997. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
Morcombe, M. 2000. Field guide to Australian Birds. Steve Parish Publishing.
Simpson, K and Day, N. 1999. Field guide to the birds of Australia, 6th Edition. Penguin Books, Australia.
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