I wonder if these Grey Fantails are the ones I saw being raised two years ago, or maybe their offspring.


Grey Fantail - Kim Wormald

Grey Fantail


Grey Fantails are dainty birds that move with such agility they remind me of ballet dancers, without the sore feet that plague the human variety. There are several races of Grey Fantail with Rhipidura alisteri being typical of central and south-east Australia. A few years ago there was a fantail here with tail feathers that were much whiter than alisteri, it looked exactly like albicauda from Western Australia and southern parts of the Northern Territory. It also behaved like albicauda, foraging about a metre above the grass rather than perching on the outside branches of trees and catching flying insects from that vantage point. Some fantails migrate from southern areas during winter and reach parts of the country where they overlap with northern races. I wonder if our little albicauda came back with a group of migrators. Over the years I saw other fantails with more white on their tails than usual so I presumed our visitor found a breeding partner. I watch each new batch of fantails with interest and always take special note of their tails.


Grey Fantail 1 - Kim WormaldGrey Fantail


It’s often difficult to frame an image of a bird with a long tail. Maybe the image above needs more room for the bird to look into, alternatively it would have been appreciated if it had turned its head towards its tail to balance the photograph. How nice it would be if I could occasionally direct a bird to pose for the camera! Actually, it’s the difficulty of getting bird images that is one of bird photography’s greatest attractions, and getting shots of small birds magnifies the pleasure.


Windswept FantailGrey Fantail


I like the misty windswept look of the image above. This fantail looks like a juvenile as it still has some brownish colouration on its face and feathers.

Images of the fantail family along with my thoughts on ethical bird photography can be seen at Grey Fantails in an egg cup.

Happy birding, Kim


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10 comments to Fantails

  • margaret

    Hi Kim, I have spent a lot of time watching the fantails, a ‘sitting shift’ lasts about ten-twelve minutes. Tonight I was concerned when I checked and ‘no-one was at home’. But after a few minutes a parent returned and voila! up popped a small head to be fed. Hopefully I’ll get to see a two more in the next couple of days similar to your amazing photos. Margaret

    • lirralirra

      That is awesome Margaret! What a lovely opportunity you have to see such sights without causing any danger or disturbance to the nest. I enjoy hearing about your little family 🙂

  • Your Fantail is so cute, awesome shots! Happy weekend to you!

  • I have the same issues with long birds/animals always wanting to get in super close for detail (and those faces) and then losing the clarity of the rest of them. I think you did a great job and these are super cute little guys.

    As for the barbed wire question – yes I’m sure that animals do get hurt and yes some get tangled up but I think some depends on how close the wire is together. I’m always amazed though how many animals can deal with it and how well (better than me as I inevitably get caught when trying to gt through it).

    • lirralirra

      There are always compromises to make 🙂

      Thanks for your thoughts on barbed wire. I’ve just been reading about how it has been banned in some places, good idea I think!

  • Carole King

    Hello Kim,
    Beautiful photos, you really have mastered the art now.
    I always look forward to each weeks batch of cuties.

  • Such enchanting little fluff balls. Thank you.
    And I love that you so obviously feel a ‘family connection’ with them.

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