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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: 11 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 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
[Dorrigo, NSW, November 2006]

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

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

Near-lateral view of a male Eastern Spinebill; this is the bird whose calls were recorded on 20 July 2016
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, July 2016]

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

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

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

Ventral view of an Eastern Spinebill; note the long, slender bill
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, March 2009]

View from below of an Eastern Spinebill; note the chestnut throat patch
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, March 2009]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

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

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

Immature Eastern Spinebill seen hanging from a flower on which it is feeding
[Near Narrabri, NSW, January 2012]

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.

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

Eastern Spinebill taking nectar from a flowering casuarina (we could not find any sign of mistletoe)
[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_20160406.mp3 tenuirostris
(NW NSW)
Contact call? © MD
easspin_20140521.mp3 tenuirostris
(N NSW)
Contact call? © MD
easspin_20140720.mp3 tenuirostris
(NW NSW)
Contact calls? © MD
easspin_20160505.mp3 tenuirostris
(NW NSW)
Contact call? © MD
easspin_20160720.mp3 tenuirostris
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls? (male) © MD
easspin_20140525.mp3 tenuirostris
(NE NSW)
Various © MD
easspin_20140720_2.mp3 tenuirostris
(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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