Family Fantails (Rhipiduridae)

Least Concern

White-fronted Fantail (Rhipidura melanolaema)


French: Rhipidure des Santa Cruz German: Vanikorofächerschwanz Spanish: Abanico frentiblanco

Rhipidura melanolæma


, 1879,

Vanikoro Island


Hitherto treated as conspecific with R. rufifrons and usually R. kubaryi, but differs from latter in characters given under that species and from former in its white vs rufous frontal supercilium, the white extending onto forecrown (3); black vs white chin and upper throat (3); dull rusty (at best) vs bright rufous back to uppertail (3) except vs neighbouring R. r. agilis, which is decidedly shorter-tailed (at least 1); and unique song, with emphatic staccato high-pitched notes (3), although song of R. r. agilis not known#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • R. m. melanolaema Sharpe, 1879 – Vanikoro I, in S Santa Cruz Is.
  • R. m. utupuae#R Mayr, 1931 – Utupua, in C Santa Cruz Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–17 cm. Nominate race has forehead, supercilium and malar stripe white, lores and ear-coverts blackish, crown to nape dark grey-brown, upperparts dark grey-brown to... read more


    Song is a variable series of staccato, emphatic, high-pitched notes, covering a narrow frequency... read more


    Forest and forest edge, and second growth.

    Food and feeding

    Diet consists principally of arthropods. Foraging behaviour not known to differ significantly from that of R. rufifrons.


    No information.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Restricted-range species: confined to small islands within the Solomons EBA. Has a small range, estimated at c. 1100 km². The global... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). White-fronted Fantail (Rhipidura melanolaema). 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).