The ifrit is not particularly shy, but the other members of the family are usually secretive. Rainforest species often secret themselves in dense vegetation. When disturbed, quail-thrushes stand stationary or burst quail-like into flight. Upon alighting they either freeze or run swiftly on foot. Whipbirds and melampittas are curious and will often slowly approach a quiet observer for a better look.

These birds are much more often heard than seen. They have distinctive voices, which are often the first indication of their presence. The vocalizations vary from thin whistles to loud explosive notes. The male and female eastern whipbirds participate in antiphonal duets that give this species its name. The male makes a loud whistle like a whip passing through the air, to which the female immediately adds two loud cracks.

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