The CHuchurika

Chichirika (Rufous Fantail)

Scientific Name: Rhipodura rufifrons uraniae (Family RHIPIDURIDAE)

Common Name: Rufous-fronted Fantail

Chamorro Name: CHuchurika/Naabak

Audio sample of the CHuchurika/Naabak

Habitats and Natural History: Limestone forest understory is their home. Pairs of fantails produce two nests of young a year. The nests, composed of grass and leaves glued together with spider webs, are found in trees about ten feet off the ground.

Description: A tiny (six inches or fifteen centimeters) brown bird with a long tail the Rufous-fronted Fantail gets it name from the bright rusty/red/brown (rufous) colored feathers on the lower back and base of the tail. They have a rusty forehead and a black spotted breast. It feeds on small insects which it actively chases on the wing, a behavior called hawking.

Range: The Rufous-fronted Fantail is widely distributed from the Marianas Islands to Australia. In Micronesia there are four distinct subspecies which occur separately on Yap; Guam; Saipan, Tinian and Agiguan in the Northern Marianas.

Current Status: The Guam subspecies is extinct from the island. It was last seen around 1984. It is considered an endangered species by the Government of Guam.

Threats: The major threats to the Rufous-fronted fantail are habitat destruction and predation by the brown treesnake.

By Gretchen R. Grimm, MS