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17

Yellow-rumped Thornbill

(Acanthiza chrysorrhoa)
Alternate name(s): "Yellow-tailed Thornbill", "Yellow-rumped Tit",
"Yellow-rumped Tit-Warbler", "Yellow-tail", "Chigaree"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "chrysorrhoa": "djidbot"

Size: 11-12 cm
Weight: 8-10 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 Yellow-rumped Thornbill at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "chrysorrhoa"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Manjimup, WA, March 2015]

Lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill collecting nest material (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Bibra Lake, near Perth, WA, September 2016]

Lateral view of two Yellow-rumped Thornbills (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Dunsborough, WA, June 2023]

Dorsal view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Manjimup, WA, March 2015]

Race "leighi"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal portrait of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill looking sideways
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2022]

Near-frontal view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, November 2019]

Close-up near-frontal/ventral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill
[Near Bugilbone, NSW, May 2017]

Close-up near-frontal/ventral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill looking downwards
[Near Bugilbone, NSW, May 2017]

Near-lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill looking towards the observer with its bill wide open (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, July 2019]

Close-up near-lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill looking sideways
[Near Bugilbone, NSW, May 2017]

Near-lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2015]

Near-lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill, looking away from the observer
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2015]

Close-up lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2022]

Close-up lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill with a conspicuously hooked upper mandible
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2022]

Close-up lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill
[Near Bugilbone, NSW, May 2017]

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

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

Lateral view down onto a Yellow-rumped Thornbill on a 40+ C day
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, February 2006]

Lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill foraging on the ground
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2011]

Yellow-rumped Thornbill trying to decide whether or not to go for another skinny-dip... (photo courtesy of A. Campbell)
[Mount McEuen, QLD, November 2016]

Near-dorsal view of a soaking wet Yellow-rumped Thornbill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, October 2019]

Near-dorsal view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbills with its name-giving rump prominently visible
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2012]

Near-dorsal view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill (photo courtesy of V. Collins)
[Near Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2020]

Near-dorsal/ventral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill in mellow light
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, September 2006]

Normally, even in a dorsal view, the yellow rump of Yellow-rumped Thornbills is hidden under the folded wings - in this case one gets a glimpse
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2013]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of a fledgling Yellow-rumped Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2013]

Near-frontal view of a juvenile Yellow-rumped Thornbill - note the orange gape
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

Near-frontal/ventral view of a fledgling Yellow-rumped Thornbill on its first day outside the nest; while its siblings were still in the nest (and the parents trying to feed everybody) this active youngster was all about our garden, flying distances of up to 30 m
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2012]

Near-lateral/ventral view of a fledgling Yellow-rumped Thornbill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2012]

Near-lateral/ventral view of 2 fledgling Yellow-rumped Thornbills waiting to be fed
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2013]

Fledgling Yellow-rumped Thornbills waiting to be fed; what to do while waiting - stretch or call
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2013]

Near-frontal/ventral view of fledgling Yellow-rumped Thornbill, right, demanding to be fed by one of its parents
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2013]

Lateral view of a fledgling Yellow-rumped Thornbill (photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Gilgandra Flora Reserve, NSW, September 2013]

Near-dorsal view of a fledgling Yellow-rumped Thornbill (photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Gilgandra Flora Reserve, NSW, September 2013]

Race "leachi"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill in a meadow (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Bruny Island, TAS, March 2016]

Lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Peter Murrell Reserve, near Kingston, TAS, April 2021]

Dorsal view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Peter Murrell Reserve, near Kingston, TAS, April 2021]

Race "normantoni"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill looking sideways (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Roma, QLD, August 2022]

Near-lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Roma, QLD, August 2022]

Lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Mount Isa, QLD, July 2021]

Near-dorsal view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Mount Isa, QLD, July 2021]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jul - Dec Eggs: 3 - 4 Incubation period: 18 days Fledging age: ca. 14 - 21 days

Nest

"bungobittah", "lar", "malunna", "jindi" [bundjalung] = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Dome Material: Grass, root fibres, webs Height above ground: 1 - 8 m

This Yellow-rumped Thornbill nest in dense foliage of a eucalypt in our garden was quite high, about 8 m above ground
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Yellow-rumped Thornbill nest in a Cypress pine
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2014]

Lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbills near the entrance it is nest inside a fruit stand in an introduced palm tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2012]

Near-frontal view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill collecting lining material for its nest
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Eggs

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

Size: 18 x 13 mm Colour: White, with light-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

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

(Next to Buff-rumped Thornbills,) Yellow-rumped Thornbills are one of only two species of thornbill observed by us to regularly forage on the ground. We have seen them hunting for insects on our lawn and paddock. Having caught something, they fly to a nearby tree with dense foliage before eating the insect.

Mob of Yellow-rumped Thornbills at the local bird bath
[Eulah Creek, NSW, June 2023]

Yellow-rumped Thornbills like taking a bath or, as in this case, a shower under a garden sprinkler
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2013]

Food, Diet

Like all other members of the Acanthiza family, Yellow-rumped Thornbills hunt for small insects. We have also seen one taking a relatively large spider (see photos below). As opposed to most other thornbills, they are often found hunting on the ground, not only in the leaf litter of forests, but also in open grassland.

Lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill that has caught a bug
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2022]

Near-lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill grabbing a spider
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

Lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill with its prey, a spider
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

Lateral view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill taking what looks like a caterpillar in an Acacia salicina
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2013]

Near-dorsal view of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill seen scraping off small white eggs attached to a twig (lower right), while keeping an eye on the observer
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2017]

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.

yrthbil_20201227.m4a leighi
(NW NSW)
Contact call © MD
yrthbil_20230428.mp3 leighi
(NW NSW)
Contact calls (Q&A) © MD
yrthbil_20191221.m4a leighi
(NW NSW)
Various (family clan) © MD
yrthbil_20220927.mp3 leighi
(NW NSW)
Various (family clan) © MD
yrthbil_20210324.m4a leighi
(NW NSW)
Various (family clan) © MD
yrthbil_20210426.m4a leighi
(NW NSW)
Various (family clan) © MD
yrthbil_20230726.mp3 leighi
(NW NSW)
Various (family clan) © MD

We have also recorded the wing beats of Yellow-rumped Thornbills.

yrthbil_20140715_5.mp3 leighi
(NW NSW)
Straight, level flight © MD
yrthbil_20230603.mp3 leighi
(NW NSW)
Mob buzzing around bird bath © MD
ylthbil_20230603.mp3 (NW NSW) Yellow Thornbill alarm call & Yellow-rumped Thornbill departure © MD

More Yellow-rumped 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.