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Rufous Whistler

From Opus

Alternative names: Rufous-breasted Whistler; Rufous-breasted Thickhead; Northern Thickhead; Pale-breasted Thickhead

MalePhoto by The MagpieWestern Australia, July 2005
Photo by The Magpie
Western Australia, July 2005
Pachycephala rufiventris


[edit] Identification

FemalePhoto by MzunguSandy Camp Rd Wetlands, Queensland, Australia, March 2018
Photo by Mzungu
Sandy Camp Rd Wetlands, Queensland, Australia, March 2018

16 -18cm (6-7 in)

  • Large head
  • Short stubby bill
  • Long narrow tail with a square or slightly forked tip


  • Dark-grey upperparts
  • White throat
  • Black breast
  • Reddish underparts
  • Some males (apart from northern races) have a black face mask
  • Blackish-brown wings and tail


  • Greyish-brown
  • Streaked underparts

Young birds more rufous than adults with heavily streaked underparts.

[edit] Distribution

ImmaturePhoto by julienEagle Point, Victoria, Australia, February 2006
Photo by julien
Eagle Point, Victoria, Australia, February 2006

Australia and New Caledonia.
Fairly common in its range.

[edit] Taxonomy

White-bellied Whistler, Black-headed Whistler and Wallacean Whistler have been treated as subspecies of this species in the past.

[edit] Subspecies

Five subspecies recognized[1]:

[edit] Habitat

Mostly dry eucalypt forests, woodlands and shrublands, gardens and farmland with some trees, and in remnant bushland patches. Mainly in lowlands up to 450m.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

The diet consists of arthropods, mainly insects, also seeds, fruit and sometimes leaves. Feeds mainly among foliage.

[edit] Breeding

Breeding season from July to March (peak from October to November) in Australia. The female builds a cup-shaped nest from twigs, grass, and vines, using spider's web to bind it and to fix it to a tree fork. Lays 2 - 3 eggs. Two broods may be produced in a season. Both adults incubate the eggs and care for the young.

[edit] Movements

Resident in most of its range, partly migratory in eastern Australia but movements poorly understood.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553422
  3. Simpson, K and N Day. 1998. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-4877-5
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2015)
  5. Birds in Backyards

[edit] External Links


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