Rufous Whistler

Calls
A long loud series of ringing notes.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
16cm
Maximum Size: 
18cm
Average size: 
17cm
Average weight: 
25g
Breeding season: 
July to February
Clutch Size: 
Usually 2, sometimes 3
Incubation: 
13 days
Nestling Period: 
11 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
QLD: 
SA: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
401
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Rufous Whistler is a stocky bird with a large head, short stubby bill and a narrow, relatively long tail with a square or slightly forked tip. The sexes differ, with the male dark-grey above with a white throat, black breast and a reddish underbody. Many males also have a black face mask (except in northern subspecies). Females are dull grey to brown, with streaked underparts. Young birds are much redder than adults and have heavily streaked underparts.

Similar species: 

The male Rufous Whistler is quite distinctive with its reddish underparts, grey head and white throat, combined with black mask (over most of range). The female and immature birds can be distinguished from most other whistlers by heavy streaking on the underparts.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

Found throughout mainland Australia, the Rufous Whistler is also found in New Caledonia.

Habitat: 

The Rufous Whistler is found in forests, woodlands and shrublands, with a shrubby understorey. Is also found in gardens and farmland with some trees, and in remnant bushland patches.

Seasonal movements: 

Sedentary, with some seasonal migratory movements in eastern Australia; south during spring and north in autumn.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Rufous Whistler mainly eats insects, and sometimes seeds, fruit or leaves. It usually forages at higher levels than other whistlers, and rarely is seen on the ground.

Breeding: 

The Rufous Whistler breeds in monogamous pairs, and both sexes incubate the eggs and care for the young. The female builds a fragile, cup-shaped nest from twigs, grass, vines and other materials, bound and attached to a tree fork with spider web. Two broods may be produced in a season.

Living with us

The Rufous Whistler is probably affected by land clearing and urban development.

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