Family Fantails (Rhipiduridae)

Least Concern

Black Fantail (Rhipidura atra)


French: Rhipidure noir German: Rabenfächerschwanz Spanish: Abanico negro

Rhipidura atra


, 1876,

Hatam and Mori, Arfak Mountains, New Guinea


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • R. a. atra Salvadori, 1876 – West Papuan Is (Waigeo) and mountains of New Guinea (except Cyclops Mts).
  • R. a. vulpes Mayr, 1931 – Cyclops Mts (NC New Guinea).
  • Descriptive notes

    16·5 cm; 11–12 g. Male nominate race is all black, except for small white supraorbital spot and some white on underwing-coverts; iris dark brown; bill black, lower... read more


    Song a rapid, high-pitched series of short squeaky notes; also series of c. 10 thin notes, rising... read more


    Prefers dense undergrowth in forest and dense regrowth at forest edge; mainly 1000–2150 m,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including beetles (Coleoptera) and caterpillars. Forages mainly in lower storey and undergrowth. Prey captured primarily by... read more


    Nov–May, in late dry season or early wet season, perhaps again towards end of wet season. Nest a small cup of fine plant fragments,... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally fairly common to common.

    Recommended citation

    Boles, W. (2018). Black Fantail (Rhipidura atra). 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 on 15 November 2018).