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17

Yellow Thornbill

(Acanthiza nana)
Alternate name(s): "Little Thornbill", "Little Tit", "Yellow-breasted Tomtit", "Yellow Dicky"
Size: 9-10 cm
Weight: 6 g (average)

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 Yellow Thornbill at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "nana"

ADULT

Frontal view of a Yellow Thornbill (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, January 2013]

Near-lateral view of a Yellow Thornbill (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, December 2012]

Latral view from below of a Yellow Thornbill (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, May 2015]

Race "modesta"

ADULT

Near-frontal view of a Yellow Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2008]

Near-frontal view of a Yellow Thornbill; note how this bird has more orange throat feathers than the bird above
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2012]

"Head-on" Yellow Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2011]

Near-lateral view of a Yellow Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2011]

Lateral view of a Yellow Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2016]

Lateral view of a Yellow Thornbill, different posture
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2016]

Lateral view of a Yellow Thornbill hunting for small insects in an Acacia salicina
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

Near-dorsal view of a Yellow Thornbill
[ Gilgandra Flora Reserve, NSW, October 2016]

Dorsal view of a Yellow Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2011]

Yellow Thornbill hanging on the end of a twig seen from beneath
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2011]

Different perspective of a Yellow Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2011]

This photo shows the bright-yellow plumage of a Yellow Thornbill that is normally hidden under the wing
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2011]

Here an air-borne Yellow Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

Yellow Thornbill jumping out of the bathtub (click on image to see the bird drying its feathers in the sun)
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jul - Dec Eggs: 3 Incubation period: ? Fledging age: ?

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

Nest

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

Type: Domed basket Material: Bark fibres, dry grass, webs Height above ground: 3 - 15 m

Yellow Thornbills have the smallest, least conspicuous nests of all thornbills. These nests are always built in trees, not in shrubs. Sometimes the nests are decorated, e.g. with spiders' egg sacs.

Yellow Thornbill, race "nana", entering its nest (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, December 2016]

Yellow Thornbill, race "nana", looking out of its nest (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, December 2016]

Eggs

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

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

Behaviour

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

Yellow Thornbills are furtive little birds that can be hard to find, because they tend to remain in trees (e.g. Cypress pines), mostly in shady areas, moving around quickly.

Yellow Thornbills are often seen by us foraging in trees together with other thornbills (mostly Inland Thornbills or Brown Thornbills).

Food, Diet

To the best of our knowledge all Thornbills feed on little insects that they pick off leaves. As shown in the photo below, this is at least true for Yellow Thornbills.

Yellow Thornbill with some kind of insect in its bill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2016]

This Yellow Thornbill has caught a little insect
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2010]

This Yellow Thornbill is not after the flower's nectar, but after whatever insect is feeding on the nectar
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 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.

ylthbil_20140405.mp3 modesta
(NW NSW)
Contact call © MD
ylthbil_20140110_4.mp3 modesta
(NW NSW)
Contact calls © MD
ylthbil_20160406.mp3 modesta
(NW NSW)
Various © MD
ylthbil_20140208.mp3 modesta
(NW NSW)
Various (foraging) © MD
ylthbil_20140405_3.mp3 modesta
(NW 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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