The Rufous Whistler has a magnificent and very noticeable song. Judging by the level of vocals, there are a lot of them in the bush around Wedderburn, Vic. They even are heard in the town in the Beech Trees down near the old Mechanics Institute Hall.
A very colourful bird of medium size, they are a delight to hear and see.
Rufous whistlers are large-headed and stocky. They have short beaks and long tails (almost as long as the rest of the bird) which are very narrow and have sharp, forked tips. The species is sexually dimorphic. While females are typically dull brown or grey with streaked underbodies, males are predominantly dark-grey with white throats and (in most cases) a black mask that covers most of their head and some of their neck. These birds are between 16 and 18 centimetres in size, on average, and their average weight is approximately 25 grams.
The rufous whistler has a variety of musical calls which consist of a lengthy series of ringing notes.
Distribution and habitat
The rufous whistler can be found in forested areas, woodland and shrubland, but also in gardens and farmland. It migrates seasonally, moving south in the spring and north in the autumn. In New Caledonia the species does not undertake migrations but is instead resident in areas of open forest and savannah.