- Rennell Fantail
 - Rennell Fantail
 - Rennell Fantail

Rennell Fantail Rhipidura rennelliana Scientific name definitions

Walter Boles
Version: 1.0 — Published March 4, 2020
Text last updated January 1, 2006

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14–15 cm; 14–15 g. Crown and side of head are drab brownish-grey, short broad supraloral spot obscure (bases of feathers off-white); back lighter and browner than crown, rump lighter, uppertail-coverts blackish-brown; upperwing brownish-grey, secondaries and wing-coverts narrowly edged with buff; two central pairs of rectrices blackish-brown, outer rectrices lighter, outer web of outermost pair white, tips and lower edges of four lateral pairs white, shafts of two outermost pairs white, next two light brown; chin and upper throat off-white, mottled light grey, lower throat and side of breast smoky grey, breast feathers with greyish-brown centres and buff edges, middle of belly buff with grey feather bases, undertail-coverts whitish or greyish-buff, thighs smoke-grey; iris dark brown; bill blackish, pale base of lower mandible; legs brownish-grey. Sexes alike. Juvenile is like adult, but edges of wing-coverts rusty, underside deeper buff, more cinnamon-tinged.

Systematics History





Rennell I, in S Solomons.


Generally wooded habitats with closed canopy, including primary forest, forest edge, submature forest, less often scrubby second growth; avoids open areas, preferring shade.



Diet and Foraging

Insects. Forages in undergrowth or understorey; in scrub found 1–3 m from ground, in tall forest up to 15 m; occasionally on ground. Flushes insects from vegetation by its active behaviour, then captures them with short to medium-length sallies (15–100 cm); changes perch frequently. Often joins mixed-species feeding flocks.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

High-pitched, upward-slurred rasp. Sings before dawn. Song is 8–15 clear, high-pitched “chip” and more nasal “chee” notes, with fluctuating pitch and rhythm.


Dependent young observed in Sept. Nest a small cup of Pandanus fibres, bound externally with spider web, with hanging “tail”, height 120 mm, depth 35 mm, outer diameter 55 mm, inner diameter 33 mm; placed 0·6–1 m from ground, often built around branch, in low bush in forest.
Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Rennell and Bellona EBA. Very common within tiny world range.
Distribution of the Rennell Fantail
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Rennell Fantail

Recommended Citation

Boles, W. (2020). Rennell Fantail (Rhipidura rennelliana), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.renfan1.01