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Northern Fantail - BirdForum Opus

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Rhipidura rufiventris

Includes: Banda Sea Fantail; Biak Fantail; Buru Fantail; Kai Fantail; Obi Fantail; Rote Fantail; Seram Fantail; Timor Fantail

subspecies isura. Photo by Tom Tarrant



Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.


Complex taxonomy with (as at 2022) 20 sspp. Many of these differ significantly in plumage and voice suggesting multiple species may be involved.

Reference [2] elevates the following: subspecies hoedti as "Banda Sea Fantail" (R. hoedti); bouruensis as "Buru Fantail" (R. bouruensis); assimilis and finitima as "Kai Fantail" (R. assimilis); obiensis as "Obi Fantail" (R. obiensis); tenkatei as "Rote Fantail" (R. tenkatei); cinerea as "Seram Fantail" (R. cinerea); and pallidiceps and rufiventris as "Timor Fantail" (R. rufiventris)

References [3], [4] elevate subspecies kordensis as "Biak Fantail", R. kordensis.


Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:

  • R. r. obiensis: "Obi Fantail". Obi
  • R. r. bouruensis: "Buru Fantail". Buru
  • R. r. assimilis: "Kai Fantail". Tayandu and Kai Islands
  • R. r. finitima: "Kai Fantail". Tiur and the Watubela Islands
  • R. r. cinerea: "Seram Fantail". Seram, Ambon and Boano
  • R. r. tenkatei: "Rote Fantail". Rote
  • R. r. rufiventris: "Timor Fantail". Semau, Timor and Jaco
  • R. r. pallidiceps: "Timor Fantail". Wetar
  • R. r. hoedti: "Banda Sea Fantail". Sermata, Moa, Leti, Romang and Damar
  • R. r. kordensis: "Biak Fantail". Biak
  • R. r. nigromentalis: Tagula and Misima, Louisiade Archipelago
  • R. r. vidua: Kofiau
  • R. r. gularis: Yapen and Boigu (Torres Strait)
  • R. r. gigantea: Lihir and Tabar Groups, Bismarck Archipelago
  • R. r. tangensis: Boang and Tanga, Bismarck Archipelago
  • R. r. mussai: Mussau, Bismarck Archipelago
  • R. r. setosa: New Ireland, New Hanover and Dyaul, Bismarck Archipelago
  • R. r. finschii: New Britain and Duke of York, Bismarck Archipelago
  • R. r. niveiventris: Admiralty Islands
  • R. r. isura: Western Australia to Cape York, south to the Burdekin River


Moist lowland forest and mangrove forests.



  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. Eaton, JA, B van Balen, NW Brickle, FE Rheindt 2021. Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago (Greater Sundas and Wallacea), Second Edition. Lynx Editions. ISBN978-84-16728-44-2
  3. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  4. HBW and BirdLife International (2022) Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International digital checklist of the birds of the world. Version 7. Available at: http://datazone.birdlife.org/userfiles/file/Species/Taxonomy/HBW-BirdLife_Checklist_v7_Dec22.zip

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