Glossy black with iridescent blue-green spots, red eye and a long forked, “fish-like” tail.
Glossy black plumage, with iridescent blue-green spots (spangles), a long “fish-like” tail and blood red eyes. Sexes are similar, but the female is slightly smaller. Occasional white spotting can be seen on the upper wings in both sexes. Young birds are more sooty black in colour, without the spangles, and the eye is brown.
Wet forests, but can also be found in woodlands, mangroves and parks.
Eastern and northern Australia.
It is a migratory species, moving southwards in late spring and returning north in early autumn.
Feeding and diet
Usually seen perched on an open branch or telegraph wire, where they await passing insects. Once seen, its prey is pursued in an acrobatic display, and is caught in its slightly hooked bill, before the bird returns to its perch to eat it. Insects are also taken from foliage and from under bark. Fruit and nectar also form part of its diet.
It has a variety of calls, including some distinctive metallic notes like a stretched wire being plucked, and occasional mimicry of other bird species.
Both adults participate in building the nest, which is a simple, shallow cup of twigs, vines and grasses, held together with spider web. Normally have only one clutch per season. Both sexes incubate the eggs and care for the young.