Fan-tailed Berrypecker (melanocharis Versteri): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: Fan-tailed berrypeckers have whitish underparts and side feathers on a very long tail. The white tail patches are very noticeable while they fly. They are 5.5 to 6.0 inches (14 to 19 centimeters) long. Females are larger and heavier than males, with a wing length of 2.6 to 2.8 inches (6.6 to 7.1 centimeters) and a weight of between 0.56 and 0.70 ounces (16 and 20 grams). Males have a wing length of 2.32 to 2.52 inches (5.9 to 6.4 centimeters) and a weight of between 0.44 and 0.53 ounces (12.5 and 15.0 grams).
Geographic range: Fan-tailed berrypeckers are found in the mountains of New Guinea; both in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The birds are usually found in lands that lie 4,500 to 10,800 feet (1,400 to 3,300 meters) in altitude.
Habitat: Fan-tailed berrypeckers occupy mountainous forests, tree-fern heaths (grassy and shrubby uncultivated land), and alpine thickets. They generally prefer undergrowth but sometimes are found in the middle strata of forests.
Diet: Small berries and insects are usually eaten by fan-tailed berrypeckers. Berries and insects are taken from the undergrowth and eaten whole. The bird often hovers to pluck berries or to take insects from the foliage.
Behavior and reproduction: Fan-tailed berrypeckers are shy birds, usually found singly or in pairs. They are active feeders. While flying in an acrobatic (with daring maneuvers) manner, they show white coloring in the tail. They have a harsh song and their calls are often heard in squeaks and nasal scold-like tones.
Nests are built much larger than necessary for the size of the birds. A neat, sturdy, and deep cup is constructed that is usually 3 inches (8 centimeters) in diameter and about 4 inches (10 centimeter) high. Nests are made of fibers torn from ferns, lined with lichens, and usually placed in the fork of a tree or on a horizontal branch. Fan-tailed berrypeckers build the nests so predators cannot easily find them.
Fan-tailed berrypeckers and people: People and fan-tailed berrypeckers have no known significant relationship.
Conservation status: Fan-tailed berrypeckers are not threatened. ∎
FOR MORE INFORMATION
del Hoyo, Josep, Andrew Elliott, Jordi Sargatal, et al, eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, 1992.
Dickinson, Edward C., ed. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World, 3rd ed. Princeton, NJ and Oxford, U.K.: Princeton University Press, 2003.
Forshaw, Joseph, ed. Encyclopedia of Birds, 2nd ed. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1998.
Harrison, Colin James Oliver. Birds of the World. London and New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1993.
Perrins, Christopher M., and Alex L. A. Middleton, eds. The Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Facts on File, 1985.
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