Today it’s the turn of the Buff-rumped Thornbill.
This species is possibly the most common thornbill in woodland habitats around Newstead. It is unusual not to hear its tinkling calls on a short ramble through suitable habitat.
The key features to look for are:
- pale-cream coloured iris, a feature shared with the Yellow-rumped Thornbill
- buff coloured rump with black sub-terminal tail band – this feature is very obvious when the bird is in flight but also usually visible when foraging
- rufous-brown forehead with delicate scalloping – this feature is not that obvious but contrasts markedly with the white-spotted black forehead of the Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Overall though it is the uniform colour and lack of markings that set this species apart from other local thornbills – no streaking on the breast, forehead or ear coverts.
Buff-rumped Thornbills are typically found in open woodland habitat with reasonably intact grassy and/or shrubby layers. They feed mostly close to the ground but will also glean insects from low foliage and bark. They are almost always in small tight parties of 4-6 birds, frequently with other insectivorous species in mixed feeding flocks outside the breeding season.
While I’ve recorded all other local thornbill species in our garden on a regular basis, the Buff-rumped Thornbill is a rarity in town, highlighting its preference for intact woodland habitat.