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

Know Your Birds, by Louise Egerton - Rufous Whistler - Pachycephala rufiventris NEW: Know Your Birds, by Louise Egerton.

Revised edition 3 July 2019. Paperback / softback, 176 pages. It has an orange cover. The original edition was 2005 and has a blue cover. Some of the book sellers listed here show the photo from the original/older blue cover edition, but the rest of the info (including the publication date and ISBN) are from the newer revised 2019 edition, so presumably that's the one you'll get.

This book has very high quality large photographs of the birds (as in actual photographs). Most of the photos take up a whole page for each bird photograph. "Know Your Birds" only has a selection of the most common birds, and not all the birds that are found in Australia. This makes it very good for beginners — since most of the field guides have all the birds — and it can be confusing looking at six almost identical species of birds, not knowing that five of them are rare and it's probably the common one that you're looking for. Which would be the only one listed in this book.

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase from Australia (Angus & Robertson)

Purchase from Australia (The Nile)

Purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

See Also

Australian Bird Field Guides

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