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Tuesday, 13 July 2021 22:42

Some Facts About Grey Fantails

Birdlife Australia’s regular newsletters have a regular series of snippets about well-known birds.

Here are some about the Grey Fantail, a bird that is common in Sydney bushland. Their call sounds like a squeaky violin.

  • Grey Fantails occur in pretty much every corner of the continent, inhabiting just about any terrestrial habitat you can name.
  • While some populations of Grey Fantails are resident, others are highly migratory, undertaking regular long-distance, seasonal movements. Tasmanian birds even migrate across the waters of Bass Strait, defying their apparently weak powers of flight.
  • The spectacular aerobatics performed by Grey Fantails while they are foraging involve such complex manoeuvres and flight sequences that they are impossible for any aircraft to replicate, even in theory.
  • The Grey Fantail’s nest is one of Australia’s neatest, with a long, pendulous tail that makes it look like a wine glass with the base of the stem broken off.
  • Although they are usually seen singly or in small numbers, Grey Fantails sometimes congregate into quite large flocks at the end of their migration, with dozens or maybe hundreds of birds gathering together. They also readily join mixed-species feeding flocks with other birds.