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17

Brown Thornbill

(Acanthiza pusilla)
Alternate name(s): "Brown Tit", "Scrub Thornbill"
Size: 9.5-10.5 cm
Weight: 5-8 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Brown Thornbill at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "pusilla"

ADULT

Frontal view of a Brown Thornbill
[Girraween NP, QLD, January 2017]

Frontal view of a Brown Thornbill on the ground (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, July 2016]

Frontal view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Queen Mary Falls, QLD, August 2017]

Near-lateral view of a Brown Thornbill
[Manning Point, NSW, July 2013]

Near-lateral view of a Brown Thornbill
[Ferntree Gully Environmental Reserve, near Rylstone, NSW, December 2016]

Near-lateral view of a Brown Thornbill hanging off a branch (photo courtesy of I. Duncan)
[Shepherd's Bush Park, Melbourne, VIC, March 2012]

Near-lateral view of a Brown Thornbill hanging head-down
[Manning Point, NSW, July 2013]

Near-lateral view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Stanthorpe, QLD, March 2015]

Lateral view of a Brown Thornbill
[Girraween NP, QLD, January 2017]

Lateral view of a Brown Thornbill
[Ferntree Gully Environmental Reserve, near Rylstone, NSW, December 2016]

Lateral view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, July 2016]

Lateral view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Stanthorpe, QLD, March 2015]

Lateral view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Near Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, April 2014]

Near-dorsal view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, July 2016]

Near-dorsal view of a Brown Thornbill
[Girraween NP, QLD, January 2017]

Brown Thornbill hanging upside down (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Cassilis, Swifts Creek, VIC, September 2016]

Ventral view of a Brown Thornbill
[Girraween NP, QLD, January 2017]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of an immature Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Cape Conran Nature Reserve, VIC, November 2016]

Juvenile Brown Thornbill waiting to be fed
[Near Old Bar, NSW, September 2011]

Here a different posture...
[Near Old Bar, NSW, September 2011]

... and a lateral view
[Near Old Bar, NSW, September 2011]

Near-lateral view of a fledgling Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, January 2013]

Near-lateral view of a fledgling Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, January 2013]

Race "diemenensis"

ADULT

Near-frontal view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Bruny Island, TAS, March 2016]

Lateral view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Bruny Island, TAS, March 2016]

Near-dorsal view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Bruny Island, TAS, March 2016]

Dorsal view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Bruny Island, TAS, March 2016]

Race "zeitzi"

ADULT

Frontal view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Near-frontal view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Near-lateral view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Lateral view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Lateral view of a Brown Thornbill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Near-lateral view of a Brown Thornbill issuing its call (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Aug - Dec Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: 17 - 20 days Fledging age: 15 - 16 days

Nest building: Female & male Incubation: Female Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Domed basket Material: Grass stems, bark strips, fern fronds, webs Height above ground: 0.2 - 2(?) m

Brown Thornbill nest low above the ground, inside a prickly shrub (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Queen Mary Falls, QLD, August 2017]

One of the owners of the Brown Thornbill nest shown above (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Queen Mary Falls, QLD, August 2017]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 16 x 12 mm Colour: Creamy, with light- to mid-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary/dispersive Elementary unit: Family clan

 

We have repeatedly seen Brown Thornbills moving around with a group also including Yellow Thornbills.

Food, Diet

Like several other species of the Acanthiza family, Brown Thornbills hunt for small insects in low shrubs and bushes.

Brown Thornbill with its prey (photo courtesy of I. Duncan)
[South West Rocks, NSW, September 2011]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Brown Thornbills have regional variations in their calls.

brthbil_20140525_3.mp3 pusilla
(NE NSW)
Contact call? © MD
brthbil_20150611.mp3 pusilla
(E NSW)
Contact call? © MD
brthbil_20160314.mp3 pusilla
(S QLD)
Contact calls? © MD
brthbil_20160314_2.mp3 pusilla
(S QLD)
Contact calls? © MD
brthbil_20150611_2.mp3 pusilla
(E NSW)
Territorial calls? © MD
brthbil_20170606.m4a pusilla
(SE QLD)
Territorial dispute(?) with mimicry (White-browed Scrubwren) © MD
brthbil_20140520_2.mp3 pusilla
(N NSW)
Q&A? © MD
brthbil_20150620_3.mp3 pusilla
(N NSW)
Various © MD
brthbil_20161217.mp3 pusilla
(Ctl NSW)
Various © MD
brthbil_20140520.mp3 pusilla
(N NSW)
? © MD
brthbil_20150620_2.mp3 pusilla
(N NSW)
? © MD
brthbil_20150620.mp3 pusilla
(N NSW)
? © MD
brthbil_20150821.mp3 pusilla
(N NSW)
? © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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