Arafura fantail Rhipidura dryas, photographed by Josep del Hoyo.

Belongs within: Corvoidea.

Rhipidura includes the fantails, small insectivorous birds found in Australasia and southern Asia. Fantails have long rounded tails that are often held fanned out (hence the vernacular name); they also have the wings characteristically drooped and held away from the body when not in flight. The willie wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys is a particularly large and distinctive member of the genus, with black upperparts, white underparts and a white stripe above the eye.

<==Rhipidura Vigors & Horsfield 1827 [incl. Leucocerca Strickland 1841, Leucocirca Swainson 1838; Rhipidurinae] CC10
    |--+--R. nigrocinnamomea BKB15
    |  `--+--R. cyaniceps JT12
    |     `--R. superciliaris JT12
    `--+--+--R. atra BKB15
       |  `--+--R. perlata JT12
       |     `--+--R. fuscorufa BKB15
       |        `--+--R. cockerelli BKB15
       |           `--R. rufiventris (Vieillot 1818) BKB15, WS48 [=Platyrhynchos rufiventris WS48]
       |                |--R. r. rufiventris WS48
       |                |--R. r. gularis J06
       |                `--R. r. isura Gould 1840 [incl. R. setora (l. c.) tormenti Mathews 1912] WS48
       `--+--+--+--R. diluta BKB15
          |  |  `--+--R. leucothorax BKB15
          |  |     `--R. threnothorax JT12
          |  `--+--R. leucophrys (Latham 1802) BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
          |     |    |--R. l. leucophrys WS48
          |     |    |--R. l. carteri (Mathews 1921) [=Leucocirca leucophrys carteri] WS48
          |     |    |--R. l. melaleuca J06
          |     |    `--R. l. picata Gould 1848 WS48
          |     `--+--R. javanica JT12
          |        `--+--R. albicollis JT12
          |           `--R. aureola JT12
          `--+--+--R. rufidorsa BKB15
             |  `--+--R. brachyrhyncha BKB15
             |     `--+--R. dahli BKB15
             |        `--+--R. teysmanni JT12
             |           `--+--R. dryas Gould 1842 BKB15, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
             |              `--R. rufifrons (Latham 1801) BKB15, WS48 [=Muscicapa rufifrons WS48]
             |                   |--R. r. rufifrons M03
             |                   `--R. r. intermedia M03
             `--+--+--R. albolimbata JT12
                |  `--R. hyperythra JT12
                `--+--R. spilodera BKB15
                   `--+--+--R. tenebrosa JT12
                      |  `--R. verreauxi JT12
                      `--+--R. rennelliana BKB15
                         `--+--R. albiscapa Gould 1840 BKB15, CC10 [=R. fuliginosa albiscapa M03]
                            |    |--R. a. albiscapa CC10
                            |    |--R. a. alisteri Mathews 1911 CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                            |    `--R. a. pelzelni Gray 1862 (see below for synonymy) CC10
                            `--+--R. phasiana BKB15 [=R. fuliginosa phasiana SJ85]
                               `--R. fuliginosa (Sparrman 1787) BKB15, CC10 [=Muscicapa fuliginosa CC10]
                                    |--R. f. fuliginosa (see below for synonymy) CC10
                                    |--R. f. albicauda M03
                                    |--R. f. keasti M03
                                    |--R. f. penita Bangs 1911 (see below for synonymy) CC10
                                    |--R. f. placabilis Bangs 1921 (see below for synonymy) CC10
                                    `--R. f. preissi Cabanis 1851 [incl. R. flabellifera subphasiana Mathews 1912] WS48

Rhipidura incertae sedis:
  R. bulgeri S13
  R. cervina M03
  R. dedemi JT12
  R. drownei JT12
    |--R. d. drownei ANM14
    `--R. d. ocularis ANM14
  R. euryura JT12
  R. kubaryi JT12
  R. lepida JT12
  R. maculipectus JT12
  R. malaitae JT12
  R. matthiae JT12
  R. motacilloides R87b
  R. nebulosa JT12
  R. opistherythra JT12
  ‘Leucocerca’ pectoralis B66
  R. personata JT12
  R. phoenicura JT12
  R. semirubra JT12
  R. setosa R87a
  R. superflua JT12

Rhipidura albiscapa alisteri Mathews 1911 CC10 [=R. fuliginosa alisteri M03; incl. Motacilla caerulescens Latham 1802 CC10, Zosterops caerulescens CC10]

Rhipidura albiscapa pelzelni Gray 1862 [=R. flabellifera pelzelni, R. fuliginosa pelzelni, R. assimilis Pelzeln 1860 non Gray 1858] CC10

Rhipidura dryas Gould 1842 BKB15, WS48 [=R. rufifrons dryas WS48; incl. R. rufifrons parryi Mathews 1912 WS48]

Rhipidura fuliginosa fuliginosa (Sparrman 1787) [incl. Muscicapa deserti Gmelin 1789, Mu. flabellifera Gmelin 1789, *Rhipidura flabellifera, R. melanura Gray in Dieffenbach 1843, Leucocerca melanura, R. sombre Hombron & Jacquinot in Dumont d’Urville 1853, R. tristis Hombron & Jacquinot in Dumont d’Urville 1853, Mostacilla (l. c. for Motacilla) ventilabrum Forster 1794, Muscicapa ventilabrum] CC10

Rhipidura fuliginosa penita Bangs 1911 [=R. flabillifera (l. c.) penitus, R. flabellifera penitus, R. fuliginosa penitus] CC10

Rhipidura fuliginosa placabilis Bangs 1921 [=R. flabellifera placabilis, R. flabellifera kempi Mathews & Iredale 1913 non R. rufifrons kempi Mathews 1912, R. flabellifera melandae Mathews 1926] CC10

Rhipidura leucophrys (Latham 1802) BKB15, CC10 [=Turdus leucophrys CC10, Leucocirca leucophrys CC10; incl. *L. laticauda CC10]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[ANM14] Andersen, M. J., A. Naikatani & R. G. Moyle. 2014. A molecular phylogeny of Pacific honeyeaters (Aves: Meliphagidae) reveals extensive paraphyly and an isolated Polynesian radiation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 71: 308–315.

[B66] Bulger, G. E. 1866. List of birds observed at Wellington, Neilgherry Hills, about 6000 feet above the level of the sea, during the months of April and May, 1866. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 568–571.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[J06] Johnstone, R. E. 2006. The birds of Gag Island, Western Papuan islands, Indonesia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 23 (2): 115–132.

[M03] Morcombe, M. 2003. Field Guide to Australian Birds 2nd ed. Steve Parish Publishing.

[R87a] Ramsay, E. P. 1887a. List of Western Australian birds collected by Mr. Cairn, and Mr. W. H. Boyer-Bower, at Derby and its vicinity, with remarks on the species. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (4): 1085–1100.

[R87b] Ramsay, E. P. 1887b. Descriptions of Australian birds' eggs. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (4): 1141–1152, pl. 19.

[S13] Sarasin, F. 1913. Die Vögel Neu-Caledoniens und der Loyalty-Inseln. In: Sarasin, F., & J. Roux (eds) Nova Caledonia: Forschungen in Neu-Caledonian und auf den Loyalty-Inseln. A. Zoologie vol. 1 pt 1 pp. 1–78, pls 1–3. C. W. Kreidels Verlag: Wiesbaden.

[SJ85] Storr, G. M., & R. E. Johnstone. 1985. Field Guide to the Birds of Western Australia 2nd ed. Western Australian Museum: Perth (Australia).

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

Last updated: 24 July 2019.

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