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17

Inland Thornbill

(Acanthiza apicalis)
Alternate name(s): "Broad-tailed Thornbill"
Aboriginal name(s): "djoolbedjoolbong" (WA)

Size: 9.5-10.5 cm
Weight: 6-10 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 Inland Thornbill at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Not the photos you want? Or are you after even better quality? Have a look here .

Race "apicalis"

ADULT

PAIR

Pair of Inland Thornbill in a shrub (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Balingup, WA, May 2016]

Sex unknown

Frontal view of an Inland Thornbill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wave Rock, near Hyden, WA, March 2017]

Near-frontal view of an Inland Thornbill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Margaret River, WA, April 2019]

Near-frontal view of an Inland Thornbill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Manjimup, WA, March 2015]

Near-lateral view of an Inland Thornbill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Parachilna Gorge, SA, November 2018]

Lateral/ventral view of an Inland Thornbill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Parachilna Gorge, SA, November 2018]

Lateral/ventral view of an Inland Thornbill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Margaret River, WA, April 2019]

Dorsal view of an Inland Thornbill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Parachilna Gorge, SA, November 2018]

Race "albiventris"

ADULT

PAIR

Male Inland Thornbill (lower right; note the trilling tail) courting a female at the end of winter
[Near Narrabri, NSW, August 2006]

Male Inland Thornbill (lower right) courting a female - note the name-giving white vent
[Near Narrabri, NSW, August 2006]

Sex unknown

Frontal view of an Inland Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2014]

Frontal view of an Inland Thornbill looking upwards
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2018]

Near-frontal view of an Inland Thornbill; note the combination of striated front, deep-brown rump, red eyes and dark legs
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

Close-up near-frontal view of an Inland Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2018]

Near-lateral view of an Inland Thornbill looking towards the observer
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2018]

Near-lateral view of an Inland Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2018]

Near-lateral/ventral view of an Inland Thornbill looking towards the observer
[Bullawa Creek SCA, near Narrabri, NSW, September 2019]

Lateral view of an Inland Thornbill looking towards the observer
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2023]

Close-up lateral view of an Inland Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2023]

Close-up lateral view of an Inland Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2018]

Lateral view of an Inland Thornbill inspecting a bird bath (that was clean water, so we won't be taking any complaints on that count...)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2022]

Lateral/ventral view of an Inland Thornbill
[Dandry Gorge AA, NSW, June 2016]

Close-up near-dorsal view of an Inland Thornbill looking for prey in an ironbark eucalypt
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2024]

Near-dorsal view of an Inland Thornbill
[The Drip Gorge, Goulburn River NP, NSW, December 2015]

Near-dorsal/ventral view of an Inland Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2018]

Ventral view of an Inland Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2011]

Frontal comparison of an Inland Thornbill with a Yellow-rumped Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2023]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of a juvenile Inland Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2007]

Lateral view of a juvenile Inland Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2007]

Frontal view of a fledgling Inland Thornbill (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Terry Hie Hie, NSW, October 2013]

Race "whitlocki"

Note below the variability of the plumage, in the colour of the forehead and the amount of frontal striation.

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of an Inland Thornbill "whitlocki" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, June 2023]

Frontal view of an Inland Thornbill "whitlocki" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, June 2023]

Frontal view of an Inland Thornbill "whitlocki" looking sideways; note the faint streaking down the front
(photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, June 2023]

Comparison of three Inland Thornbills "whitlocki" with different appearances - these photos are of members of the same mob, taken at the same location - the all-black bills indicate that neither bird is a juvenile; the red irises show that neither of these birds is a Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
Left: brown forehead, strong striation, like a Brown Thornbill
Centre: greyish forehead, no visible striation, similar to a Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
Right: dark-grey forehead, clearly visible striation, similar to race "albiventris"
(photos courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, June 2023]

Near-frontal view of an Inland Thornbill "whitlocki" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, June 2023]

Near-frontal view of an Inland Thornbill "whitlocki" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, June 2023]

Near-lateral view of an Inland Thornbill "whitlocki" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, June 2023]

Lateral view of an Inland Thornbill "whitlocki" looking towards the observer (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, June 2023]

Lateral/ventral view of an Inland Thornbill "whitlocki" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, June 2023]

Near-dorsal view of an Inland Thornbill "whitlocki" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, June 2023]

Race "whitlocki"/"apicalis"/"albiventris" mix

In the Gammon Ranges NP in north-eastern SA we found the birds shown below, with heavy streaking but otherwise pale colours.

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of an Inland Thornbill looking sideways
[Gammon Ranges NP, SA, March 2008]

Lateral/ventral view of an Inland Thornbill
[Gammon Ranges NP, SA, March 2008]

Behaviour

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

Inland Thornbills are gregarious birds; although territorial with respect to others of their own species, they are seen by us regularly together with other species of thornbills.

Near-frontal view of an Inland Thornbill inspecting a bird bath
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2022]

Food, Diet

Like several other species of the Acanthiza family, Inland Thornbills hunt for small insects and spiders in low shrubs and trees. They have also been seen by us also taking insects in flight.

Near-lateral/ventral view of an Inland Thornbill with the legs of its prey, a spider, still sticking out
[Pilliga NP, NSW, December 2022]

Lateral view of an Inland Thornbill with its prey, possibly an aphid
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2007]

Close-up near-frontal Inland Thornbill looking for prey between the seed cones of a Callistemon shrub
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2023]

Ventral view of an Inland Thornbill with a casuarina flower
[Pilliga West SCA, NSW, March 2018]

Lateral view of an Inland Thornbill looking at the observer; it was found drinking water from a leaking tank
[Flinders Ranges NP, SA, March 2008]

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.

inthbil_20190403.m4a albiventris
(NW NSW)
Contact call? © MD
inthbil_20200912.m4a albiventris
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls? © MD
inthbil_20220918.mp3 albiventris
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls? © MD
inthbil_20190912.m4a albiventris
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls?
(+ Rainbow Bee-eater)
© MD
inthbil_20180725.m4a albiventris
(NW NSW)
Male courting female(?) © MD
inthbil_20180909.m4a albiventris
(NW NSW)
Male courting female(?) © MD
inthbil_20230523.mp3 albiventris
(NW NSW)
Various (mob) © MD
inthbil_20171019.m4a albiventris
(NW NSW)
Various © MD
inthbil_20140612.m4a albiventris
(NW NSW)
Various © MD
inthbil_20180928.m4a albiventris
(NW NSW)
? © MD
inthbil_20190628.m4a albiventris
(NW NSW)
? © MD
inthbil_20200815.m4a albiventris
(NW NSW)
? © MD
inthbil_20210313.m4a albiventris
(NW NSW)
? © MD

We have also been able to record the wing beats of Inland Thornbills.

inthbil_20230726.mp3 albiventris
(NW NSW)
Arrival, contact call, departure © MD

More Inland Thornbill sound recordings are available at xeno-canto.org .

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.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.