Mussau Fantail Rhipidura matthiae


Justification of Red List Category
This species is confined to one island where it is likely to have a moderately small population. Although it is tolerant of some habitat degradation, it is thought that the population is likely to be declining overall owing to habitat loss and degradation, and it therefore qualifies as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as fairly common (del Hoyo et al. 2006).

Trend justification
There are no data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be in slow to moderate decline owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation.

Distribution and population

Rhipidura matthiae is endemic to Mussau (400 km2) in the St Matthias Group of Papua New Guinea.


It is a fairly common forest species which appears to be able to tolerate degraded habitats (Eastwood 1996, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1997-1998, Hornbuckle 1999). It is found in forest, especially forest edge and tree-fall gaps, including secondary regrowth and scrub (Dutson 2011). Its habits are typical of a fantail.


Most of Mussau has been logged or is under logging concessions and this species may be threatened if it proves to be poorly tolerant of large areas of degraded habitat. It might potentially be threatened by introduced predators.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct research to determine population size. Conduct surveys and interview local villagers to determine population trends. Determine habitat requirements. Ascertain area of forest and rates of clearance across the island. Monitor numbers at sites across the island. Publicise this species's range and status through public awareness discussions.


Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Rhipidura matthiae. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/09/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/09/2020.