The Malaysian Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica) is a species of bird in the fantail family. It is locally referred to as muria gila, literally “crazy thrush” in the Malay language. It is found in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar,Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.
The fantails are small bodied (11.5–21 cm long) birds with long tails; in some species the tail is longer than the body and in most the tail is longer than the wing. When the tail is folded it is rounded at the end, but when spread in display or aerial foraging it has a characteristic fan shape that gives the family its name.
Fantails adopt a hunched horizontal posture most of the time, with the wings drooped and held away from the body and the tail half cocked. There are some exceptions to this, particularly theNorthern Fantail of New Guinea and the Cockerell’s Fantail of the Solomon Islands, which have a more upright posture reminiscent of the monarch flycatchers.
The wings of fantails are tapered and have sacrificed speed for agility, making fantails highly efficient at catching insect prey. Overall the fantails are strong fliers, and some species can undertake long migrations, but the thicket-fantails (Sooty Thicket-fantail, White-bellied Thicket-fantail and Black Thicket-fantail) are very weak fliers, and need to alight regularly.
The bills of fantails are typical for aerial insect eating birds, being flat and triangular. The gape is surrounded by two rows of rictal bristles which are long, often as long as the bill. The bills of most species are fairly weak, limiting fantails to softer insects, although the more terrestrial Willie Wagtail has a stronger bill.
The plumage of most fantails shows some variation, most species are relatively uniform with some markings. A few species, such as the Rennell Fantail, have uniform plumage, while others have striking if sombre patterns. The colours of most species are greys, blacks, whites and browns, although a few species have yellow or even striking blue feathers. In most species there is nosexual dimorphism in plumage; the notable exception being the Black Fantail of New Guinea where the male has all-over black plumage and the female is almost entirely rufous. In a few species, such as the New Zealand Fantail, there exist two colour morphs, the common pied morph and the rarer black morph (which is most common on the South Island).
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