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18

Eastern Spinebill

(Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris)
Alternate name(s): "Spine-billed Honeyeater", "Cobbler's Awl"; Misnomer: "Hummingbird"
Size: 14-16 cm
Weight: 8-16 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 Eastern Spinebill at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race"tenuirostris"

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of a male Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Cassilis, East Gippsland, VIC, September 2019]

Frontal view of a male Eastern Spinebill; note the black cap (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, June 2013]

Frontal view of a male Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Queen Mary Falls, near Killarney, QLD, July 2019]

Frontal view of a male Eastern Spinebill issuing its call (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Cassilis, East Gippsland, VIC, November 2019]

Near-frontal/ventral view of a male Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Westgate Park, Melbourne, VIC, October 2017]

Near-lateral view of a male Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Queen Mary Falls, near Killarney, QLD, July 2019]

Near-lateral/ventral view of a male Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Westgate Park, Melbourne, VIC, October 2017]

Lateral view of a male Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Fainting Range Road, Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, May 2014]

Dorsal view of a male Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, June 2013]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Eastern Spinebill; note the grey cap
[Dorrigo, NSW, November 2006]

Lateral view of a female Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Botanical Gardens, Maleny, QLD, August 2019]

Lateral view of a female Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Queen Mary Falls, near Killarney, QLD, July 2019]

Near-dorsal view of a female Eastern Spinebill feeding in a garden (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Near Coonabarabran, NSW, December 2013]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Close-up lateral view of a juvenile Eastern Spinebill
[Girraween NP, QLD, January 2017]

Near-frontal view of a juvenile Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Westgate Park, Melbourne, VIC, October 2017]

Close-up lateral view of a juvenile Eastern Spinebill
[Girraween NP, QLD, January 2017]

Lateral view of a juvenile Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Cassilis, East Gippsland, VIC, November 2019]

Race"halmaturinus"

ADULT

MALE

Near-lateral view of a (probably male) Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Karatta, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Near-lateral view of a (probably male) Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Karatta, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Lateral view of a (probably male) Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Karatta, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Lateral view of a (probably male) Eastern Spinebill, different posture (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Karatta, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

FEMALE

Lateral view of a (probably female) Eastern Spinebill (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Karatta, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: ? Mobility: Dispersive Elementary unit: Pair

Food, Diet

Eastern Spinebills specialise on nectar from trumpet-shaped flowers, to which their long, curved bills are adapted.

Male Eastern Spinebill using its sticky tongue to take nectar from a flower (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Botanical Gardens, Maleny, QLD, August 2019]

Male Eastern Spinebill taking nectar from a Callistemon shrub (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Queen Mary Falls, near Killarney, QLD, July 2019]

Eastern Spinebill feeding on the nectar of a mistletoe
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, March 2009]

Eastern Spinebill taking nectar from a flowering casuarina
[Near Maules Creek, NSW, May 2013]

Male Eastern Spinebill taking nectar from a Pawpaw plant (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, June 2013]

Eastern Spinebills are one of the bird species that can feed while hovering; here seen taking nectar from a grevillea flower (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, June 2013]


Two different views of an Eastern Spinebill with pollen sticking to its bill (photo courtesy of I. Duncan)
[Glen Iris wetlands, Melbourne, VIC, July 2012]

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.

easspin_20180131.m4a tenuirostris
(NW NSW)
Contact calls? © MD
easspin_20160720.m4a tenuirostris
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls? (male) © MD
easspin_20170810.m4a tenuirostris
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls? © MD
easspin_20190710.m4a tenuirostris
(NW NSW)
Territorial call? © MD
easspin_20140720.mp3 tenuirostris
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls? © MD
easspin_20140525.mp3 tenuirostris
(NE NSW)
Various © 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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