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Rufous Whistler

Pachycephala rufiventris

Quick facts


Size: Averages 17 cm long including tail, 25 g.


Range and lifestyle: Usually seen in pairs or alone. Found all over Australia, some birds migrating hundreds of kilometres after breeding, while others may live year-round in a small territory.


Food: Insects and other small edible creatures, seeds and fruits.

Breeding: Rufous Whistlers build rather flimsy, open-cupped nests made from fine twigs and grass in the forks of trees. Both parents incubate the clutch of 2-3 eggs.

  • Birds in southern NSW and Victoria migrate north, as far as north Queensland, after breeding, while Queensland-breeding birds may stay year-round.

  • Although the male is much more colourful than the female, he sits on the eggs and chicks almost as much as his mate.  

  • Except when they are singing or chasing each other from their breeding territories, these birds forage quietly by hopping from branch to branch, inspecting every leaf and twig for prey.

Text © Richard Noske 2021 CC BY-NC-SA


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