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Fan-tailed Gerygone - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Fantail Gerygone; Fantail Warbler; Fan-tailed Fairy-warbler; Fan-tailed Flyeater; Fan-tailed Warbler; Fan-tailed Gerygone Warbler; Yellow-sided Warbler

Adult, nominate subspecies
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia, 23 September 2019
Gerygone flavolateralis


10 cm (4 in). A small, drab gerygone.

  • Olive-brown upperparts
  • More olive-grey head with an indistinct narrow whitish fore supercilium and a thin broken eyering
  • Olive-brown upperwing and tail
  • Whitish-grey throat
  • Lemon-yellow flanks and belly, pale greyish rest of underparts
  • Eye is dark reddish

Females are paler than males, juveniles have entirely yellowish underparts.


Subspecies differ in the size and extent of white tail spots and intensity of yellow.


New Caledonia, Loyalty Islands and Vanuatu.
A restricted-range species, common in most parts of its range.


Four subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • G. f. flavolateralis on New Caledonia and Maré
  • G. f. lifuensis on Lifou (Loyalty Islands)
  • G. f. correiae in northern Vanuatu and Banks Group
  • G. f. rouxi on Loyalty Islands (Ouvéa)


Occurs in forest and secondary growth, also in village gardens and scrub. From sea-level up to hills, up to 1600 m asl in Vanuatu.



Feeds on insects, including their larvae and pupae.
Usually seen singly, in pairs or small family parties. Often in mixed-species flocks with white-eyes, fantails and whistlers. Searches for prey from low levels of forest up to the canopy by gleaning from foliage, twigs and branches. Often rather tame.


Breeding season from September to January/February in Vanuatu. The nest is a domed structure with a side entrance near the top and a “tail” beneath. It's made of plant fibres, rootlets, soft bark and moss and suspended from vine stems 1 to 5 metres above the ground. Lays 2 to 3 eggs. This species is the exclusive host of the brood parasite Shining Bronze-cuckoo. Both the parasite and the host have evolved polymorphic dark and light colored chicks.


A resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.1)_red. Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.1. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Gregory, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Fan-tailed Gerygone (Gerygone flavolateralis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/59817 on 6 December 2019).
  4. Dutson, G. (2011) Birds of Melanesia, Christopher Helm, London.
  5. Attisano, A., Thiel, F., Sato, N. et al. (2019) Breeding biology of the Fan-tailed Gerygone Gerygone flavolateralis in relation to parasitism by the Shining Bronze-cuckoo Chalcites lucidus J Ornithol 160: 91.

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