Family Fantails (Rhipiduridae)

Least Concern

Kai Fantail (Rhipidura assimilis)


French: Rhipidure des Kai German: Keifächerschwanz Spanish: Abanico de las Kai

Rhipidura assimilis

G. R. Gray

, 1858,

Kai Islands


One of several taxa recently split from R. rufiventris#R (which see). Differs from all other taxa in that complex by various characters in unique combination: bold white supercilium; white throat; pale grey breastband with very indistinct white streaks; pale tan belly to vent; buffy tips of tail; and brownish-grey upperparts. Differs in particular from geographically closest representative of rufiventris complex, R. cinerea, in its bold white supercilium (3); much more diffuse, paler breastband (3); pale tan vs white belly (ns[2]); buffy vs very slight white tail tips (3); and browner upperparts (1). Differs from morphologically closest representative, nominate R. isura, in its bold white supercilium (3); much more diffusely streaked breastband (2); buffy vs large white tail tips (3); browner upperparts (ns[1]); and rather larger size (allow 1). Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • R. a. finitima E. J. O. Hartert, 1918 – Watubela Is (Tioor, Kasiui), in S Moluccas.
  • R. a. assimilis G. R. Gray, 1858 – Tayandu Is and Kai Is (Kai Besar, Kai Kecil), in S Moluccas.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 16–18 cm. Male nominate race has distinctive long white supercilium, grey forehead to nape and sides of head; upperparts brownish grey with olive-brown tinge, remiges dark... read more


    Song is a continuous series of alternating metallic notes, “tee-two-tee-two-tee-two…”, at pace of c... read more


    Mainly in rainforest and mangroves; also woodland edge, and extends into areas of woodland regrowth... read more

    Food and feeding

    Little information. Presumably takes insects and spiders, as do congeners. Forages alone or in pairs. Joins mixed-species flocks.


    One seen carrying nesting material in late Apr and another observed nestbuilding in Oct. Recorded on nest in Nov in Kai Kecil, Kai Islands... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Restricted-range species: confined to a tiny part of the Banda Sea islands EBA. Common to moderately common within its small range.... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Christie, D.A. & Bonan, A. (2019). Kai Fantail (Rhipidura assimilis). 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 6 December 2019).