A bird incubating.

A bird incubating.
Species: Rufous-backed Fantail   Rhipidura rufidorsa
Subspecies: kubuna
Author: Brian J. Coates
Added to IBC: 26 Sep 2012 - 10:03
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Average: 4.3 (4 votes)
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Altitude (m): 
21 meters


Published in HBW Volume 11 on page 214.
Original HBW caption:
Incubation in fantails is undertaken by males and females in roughly equal proportion, and normally lasts 12–14 days. During this period both sexes can be strikingly fearless when incubating, generally sitting very still when approached by a human observer, and sometimes even allowing themselves to be touched. Many fantail species, including the Rufous-backed Fantail, incorporate a dangling tail of material to the underside of their nests. The overall effect has been likened to a wineglass without a base. The purpose of this structural feature is difficult to explain, but it is thought to be involved with either camouflage or drainage. Certainly, the dangling tail appears to break up the outline of the nest, making it appear more like trapped vegetation, and in wet climates it may help water to seep away from the egg chamber and drip to the ground below.

Related Lynx titles
Birds of New Guinea
Including Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville
All of the 943 species known to occur are covered, including the extraordinarily high total of 456 endemics, as well as 5 introduced species, 2 species yet to be formally described and a separate appendix with 75 vagrants. Subspecies are listed also to give a comprehensive overview of the remarkable regional avifauna.


Brian J. Coates, IBC1008033. Accessible at hbw.com/ibc/1008033.

Extended version
Brian J. Coates, IBC1008033. Photo of Rufous-backed Fantail Rhipidura rufidorsa at Brown River, New Guinea. Accessible at hbw.com/ibc/1008033.

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