Rufous Whistler - Pachycephala rufiventris

Rufous Whistler

Pachycephala rufiventris

Family: Pachycephalidae (Whistlers, Shrike-thrushes and allies, 14 species in Australia).
Size: 17 cm
Distribution: Almost all of Australia except TAS and small areas in central and central-West Australia
Status: Common
Habitat: Mostly open forest, woodland, mallee and scrub of arid interior, less common in wetter tall forests. Nomadic or migratory in parts of Australia
References: Simpson and Day, Reader's Digest

The Rufous Whistler is a lovely bird, the male has striking colours, with a thick black stripe arouns his head, and a pure white throat underneath. The belly of the bird is a rufous (reddish-brown) colour, with darker wings and a mid-brown on top of the bird. The female is more of a brown colour overall though she does have a lighter (but not pure white) throat, and a slightly reddish belly (but not nearly as coloured as the male).

They are very similar to the Golden Whistler, which has a very bright yellow colour instead of the rufous colour.

They are usually seen in native bushland, not so much in people's gardens. This is perhaps more true of the Rufous Whistler than Golden Whistler, which is seen in my own garden (which backs onto bush and has a large gum tree in it ) now and then.

Rufous Whistler - Pachycephala rufiventris
Photo: Lawson, Blue Mountains NSW

Rufous Whistler - Pachycephala rufiventris
Photo: Lawson, Blue Mountains NSW

Golden Whistler - Pachycephala pectoralis
Artwork: John Gould, 'The Birds of Australia', 1848. Original Scanned Image.
Gould call this plate the Golden Whistler (with the same scientific name), but it looks exactly like the Rufous Whistler, not the Golden Whistler. I'm not sure what is going on with this.

Some Birdwatching Resources

The Australian Bird Guide, by Peter Menkhorst (Author), Danny Rogers (Author), Rohan Clarke (Author), Jeff Davies (Illustrator), Peter Marsack (Illustrator), Kim Franklin (Illustrator) - Rufous Whistler - Pachycephala rufiventris NEW: The Australian Bird Guide, by Peter Menkhorst (Author), Danny Rogers (Author), Rohan Clarke (Author), Jeff Davies (Illustrator), Peter Marsack (Illustrator), Kim Franklin (Illustrator).

Revised Edition 2019. Original edition published 2017. This is a newer Australian bird field guide that I just got recently. It may be the best one out of all of them now. Though I still like the pictures better in "Simpson and Day" in terms of their artistic value, and that they just look more interesting to me than the drawings in any other bird field guide I've seen. This one has more "clinical" looking pictures. They are coloured artist-rendered drawings, not photographs. Though the more "clinical" look is meant to be more anatomically accurate, and better for identification.

The rest of the book is wonderful, with different coloured regions on the range maps, and very high quality information overall. It was the winner in its category for an Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) award for book of the year in 2018.

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See Also

Australian Bird Field Guides

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