• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Mangrove Golden Whistler - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Black-tailed Whistler; Black-tailed Thickhead; Robust Whistler (spinicaudus)

Photo © by Mat & Cathy
Adelaide River bridge, Arnhem Highway, Northern Territory, Australia, August, 2009
Pachycephala melanura


15 - 17cm (6-6¾ in). Slightly smaller than Golden Whistler. Male:

  • Black head to nape and black band around upper breast
  • Yellow band around nape, broader than in Golden Whistler
  • Olive-green upperparts and black wings, yellow-grey edged
  • Sometimes yellow-green tail base


  • Buff-grey upperparts with olive wash on back and wings
  • Dull white throat
  • Underparts dull to bright yellow according subspecies

Immatures like females but with rufous edged wing feathers. Juveniles are rich rufous.

Similar species

Very similar to Golden Whistler. Ranges overlap in Queensland.


Photo © by peterday
Burketown, Queensland, Australia, July 2021

Islands off south and east New Guinea coastal New Guinea, Solomon Islands and coastal northern Australia.
Locally common.


There are 4 or 5 subspecies:

Has been treated conspecific with Golden Whistler but ranges overlap in Australia and no interbreeding recorded. But hybrid populations exist on islands of northeast New Guinea and whitneyi may be a hybrid too.


Mangrove forests. On islands also in more open habitats and in New Guinea also in other forest types.



Feeds mainly on insects, but takes also spiders and small crabs.


Breeding in Australia October to February in Western Australia and Juny, September and December in Queensland. The nest is a cup made of grass, rootlets and twigs. It's placed 1.6 to 3m above the ground in mangroves or thick vines. Lays 2 -3 eggs.


Resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553422
  3. Simpson, K and N Day. 1998. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-4877-5

Recommended Citation

External Links

Search the Gallery using the scientific name:

Search the Gallery using the common name:

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.