Ian’s Bird of the Week – Tasmanian Thornbill

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Tasmanian Thornbill ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 3/13/13

Are you good at those spot the differences games where you need to find usually ten subtle differences between two drawings? If so, this bird of the week, another in the series of Tasmanian endemics the Tasmanian Thornbill, is for you. The first two photos are of a Tasmanian Thornbill, the third is of its closest relative the Brown Thornbill, which also occurs in Tasmania.

Tasmanian Thornbill (Acanthiza ewingii) by Ian 1

Tasmanian Thornbill (Acanthiza ewingii) by Ian

The differences are as follows. The Tasmanian Thornbill:

  • has tan rather than brownish-buff forehead
  • has shorter bill
  • has darker grey breast
  • has mottled rather than streaked breast
  • has buffish rather than whitish edges to flight feathers
  • has white rather than buff flanks
  • has longer tail
  • harsher calls and more disjointed song (otherwise very similar)
  • prefers denser, wetter habitats (we’re getting desperate here)
Tasmanian Thornbill (Acanthiza ewingii) by Ian 2

Tasmanian Thornbill (Acanthiza ewingii) by Ian

The reward? Another tick on your Australian list.

Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) by Ian 3

Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) by Ian

Best wishes

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
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Lee’s Addition:

There are thorns and snares on the path of the crooked; the one who guards himself stays far from them. Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:5-6 HCSB)

Oh, now Ian is going to make us “work”! But that is how we learn to ID these birds and the others. Sometimes there is such a subtle difference in some of them. May we never get to the place where we don’t want to be challenged.

Here are the Calls of the Tasmanian and Brown Thornbills

Here are the Songs of the Tasmanian and Brown Thornbills

Thornbills are in the Acanthizidae family. Ian has quite a collection of them on his Thornbills & Allies page. This family, Acanthizidae – Australasian Warblers, has 65 species in it. The Acanthizidae, also known as the Australasian warblers, are a family of passerine birds which include gerygones, thornbills, and scrubwrens. The Acanthizidae consists of small to medium passerine birds, with a total length varying between 3.1 and 7.5 in (8 and 19 centimetres). They have short rounded wings, slender bills, long legs, and a short tail. Most species have olive, grey, or brown plumage, although some have patches of a brighter yellow. The smallest species of acanthizid, and indeed the smallest Australian passerine, is the Weebill, the largest is the Pilotbird.


Ian’s Birdway

xeno-canto Tasmanian Thornbill

xeno-canto Brown Thornbill

Other Ian’s Bird of the Week