Buff-rumped Thornbill

This is the instalment #4 in the series of identification tips for local thornbills. For previous instalments see Brown Thornbill, Striated Thornbill and Yellow Thornbill.

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.


Buff-rumped Thornbill, Spring Hill Track, 8th July 2021







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