A flutter of feathers and squeaky string of 'chew-weets' frequently accompanies visitors to Sungei Buloh as they walk on the raised trail between the river and the tidal flats. The culprit is likely to be a pied fantail in its manic drive to flush out insects from the foliage of the sea hibiscus trees and orange mangroves that flank the path.
Wholly incapable of discretion despite their shunning of open spaces, the fantails are chronically disposed to hyperactivity. Even a brief perch to survey its territory or catch its breath is impossible without a regular whirr of primaries and the restless raising of the white-tipped tail. In the back mangroves where the ground is firmer, the fantail's hunt often brings it crashing down onto the soil after furious loops around tangled banks. But the crazy thrush hardly seems to notice the indignity of its antics, for there is method in its madness as it crashes through the thickets with stubby wings built for maneuverability and the rapid eye movements of nictitating membranes.