Family Thornbills (Acanthizidae)

Least Concern

Fairy Gerygone (Gerygone palpebrosa)


French: Gérygone enchanteresse German: Elfengerygone Spanish: Gerigón duende

Gerygone palpebrosa


, 1865,

Aru Islands


Sometimes thought that New Guinea races represent one species and Australian personata and flavida two further species, but last two intergrade in NE Queensland (from about Cooktown S to Townsville), and differences between them, although notable (male flavida lacks chocolate-colour on lower face, throat and upper breast of personata), here judged insufficient to provide a species-level distinction; moreover, voices of all taxa recorded are very similar. Race inconspicua poorly differentiated, and sometimes included in nominate#R. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. p. palpebrosa Wallace, 1865 – Black-throated Gerygone – W New Guinea (including West Papuan Is) and Aru Is.
  • G. p. wahnesi (A. B. Meyer, 1899) – Yapen I and N New Guinea (E to N coast of SE Peninsula to the Kumusi R).
  • G. p. tarara Rand, 1941 – S New Guinea from Morehead R E to Fly R.
  • G. p. inconspicua E. P. Ramsay, 1878 – SE New Guinea E from upper Fly R.
  • G. p. personata Gould, 1866 – NE Queensland (Cape York Peninsula S to Mitchell R and Townsville area), in NE Australia.
  • G. p. flavida E. P. Ramsay, 1877 – Fairy Gerygone – coastal C Queensland from about Cooktown S to Rockhampton area.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–11·5 cm; 8 g. Medium-small gerygone with distinctive male plumag­es. Male nominate race has forehead, side of head and throat to upper breast black, crown... read more


    Often located by quiet but insistent, rather nasal “tt tt” contact note. Song, by male... read more


    Edges of tropical rainforest and ecotone between that and other habitats, vine thickets (e.g. at 40... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insectivorous; no details of items. Seen mostly singly, in pairs or in small parties of up to five individuals, probably family groups.... read more


    Birds in breeding condition in Oct (at end of dry season) in New Guinea; breeding recorded in Jul–May in Australia. Nest reported as... read more


    Resident; wanderers have reached Magnetic I, off Townsville (Queensland).

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in suitable habitat in all parts of range.

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Fairy Gerygone (Gerygone palpebrosa). 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 17 February 2019).