Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pied Fantail

     The Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica) is a bird that has caught the attention of even non-birdwatchers. A lot of villagers have already noticed the antics and animated behavior of the Pied Fantail. This is the bird that attacks cats and dogs as they go into the garden to do their business or just walk down the street. This feisty bird even attacks its own reflection in a car mirror or house window! When it is not defending its territory from perceived threats, it can be seen hopping through the tree branches, holding its long tail spread out just like beautiful black and white fan.

      In birding terminology, the word “pied” means black and white. The Pied Fantail is a black bird with a white eyebrow, white throat and underparts, and black band across its chest. Its long black tail is edged in white. In Pilipino, this bird is known as maria cafra. It is about 7 ½ inches long.  It has a many different metallic, chime-like calls.

Pied Fantail with its tail folded. Photo by Tonji Ramos
     Pied Fantails usually frequent the same areas day in and day out. In the village, they are frequently found on mango trees and also near garbage cans. Pied Fantails are territorial. However, they have their own concept of a territory that does not follow manmade walls or borders. A Pied Fantail can nest in the mango tree of one house and still consider the yard of the neighboring house part of his territory. 

     Pied Fantails are interesting and amusing birds to observe. They are very active and noisy and constantly fan out and display their beautiful tails. They are one of the birds most likely to be nesting in a typical garden in the village.

Two Pied Fantail links:

View the photo essay "Bird Attacks Cat! And More!"

More Pied Fantail pictures from from our backyard and around the village on our website


  1. There are so many pied fantail here on our village.. and I even caught them on video attacking the cats.. haha

    1. Cool! They are very tough and territorial!

  2. I saw a nest in our bamboo tree, it's not that unreachable though I can get it. I'm thinking to adopt its baby for hand feed, so when they grow they can't be afraid to people (tamed) but I've made some research and they're favorite food is insect.