The Grey Fantail, although not as conspicuous as its big cousin, the Willy Wagtail, is almost as common, being found over most of the country, and some Pacific Islands. It is small and active in very acrobatic flights, looping and diving after small insects. When perching, it frequently fans out and flicks its tail, and gives its high-pitched call of “diddly...diddly...diddly”.
Fantails are not shy and can be encouraged to come within 1m by making kissing sounds. They lay 3 or 4 cream eggs with pale red-brown spots in a compact nest, shaped like a little wine glass without a base, usually in the fork of a tree, made from moss, bark and fibre, and often completed with spider's web. Incubation and feeding duties are shared by both adults.
Size: 14 - 17 cm
Photo and Illustration: Mark Trinham.