Family Fantails (Rhipiduridae)

Least Concern

Sooty Thicket-fantail (Rhipidura threnothorax)


French: Rhipidure fuligineux German: Tropfenfächerschwanz Spanish: Abanico del matorral

Rhipidura threnothorax

S. Müller

, 1843,

Lobo, Triton Bay, New Guinea


Closely related to R. maculipectus and R. leucothorax. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • R. t. threnothorax S. Müller, 1843 – West Papuan Is (Waigeo, Salawati, Misool), lowland New Guinea (except lower Trans-Fly region) and Aru Is.
  • R. t. fumosa Schlegel, 1871 – Yapen I, in Geelvink Bay (NW New Guinea).
  • Descriptive notes

    16·5–18 cm; 17–18 g. Male nominate race has crown and upperparts dark brown or olive-brown, side of head blackish-brown, white eyebrow; wings dusky; tail sooty... read more


    Five-note song starts with 2 softer notes, then loud clear “chew-chew-chew”; may be repeated for... read more


    Primary rainforest, monsoon forest and gallery forest in lowlands and hills, to c. 1100 m; favours... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small insects. Restricted to understorey, usually no more than 1 m from ground, rarely to 2 m to forage on palm fronds; sometimes feeds on... read more


    Eggs in Jan, nestling in Jul/Aug, females in breeding condition in May, and males with enlarged testes Jul–Aug; suggesting breeding... read more


    Resident; marked individuals recaptured or observed at or near site of original capture for several... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common to very common. Density in forest study site near R Brown (SE New Guinea) estimated at 20 birds/10 ha.

    Recommended citation

    Boles, W. (2019). Sooty Thicket-fantail (Rhipidura threnothorax). 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 16 December 2019).