White-Spotted Fantail (Rhipidura albogularis)

The White-Spotted Fantail is a small, beautiful bird with a tail that spreads to resemble a fan, from where it gets its name. It is found in forest, scrub and cultivation in southern and central India.

It has a dark fan-shaped tail, edged in white, and white supercilium and throat. Birds are mainly slate grey above, with a black eye mask, and a white throat and eyebrow. It has whitish underparts, and a grey breast band that is spotted white. It is therefore alternatively called the Spot-Breasted Fantail.

The white-spotted fantail feeds on insects and often fans its tail as it moves through the undergrowth in search of food.

The male uses a fixed and unmistakable pattern of musical notes in its call, and an interesting fact is that the song sounds very different after 4–5 years. The male’s call is a valuable tool in detection and identification of the bird.

They are not very easy to photograph as they move around very quickly through scrubland and forest, and love to keep in the bushes and thickets. I photographed this specimen in the Nilgiris after locating its nest and lying in wait for a while.

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