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any of numerous birds of the Old World subfamily Rhipidurinae, family Muscicapidae (q.v.). Some authors retain these birds in the subfamily Muscicapinae. The fantails constitute the genus Rhipidura. Fantails are native to forest clearings, riverbanks, and beaches from southern Asia to New Zealand; some have become tame garden birds. Most of the two dozen species are coloured in shades of gray, black, brown, or rufous, often accented with areas of white, especially on the belly, eyebrows, and tail. They are named from their habit of constantly wagging and spreading their long, rounded tails. They build small cup nests, which are so finely bound in cobweb that they seem shellacked.