Notes to readers of this Blog


Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Thornbills - do you know your Central Australian species?

Central Australian Thornbills
You are out in the scrub. You can sense movement and then you hear a chirp, or a twitter and wonder what it is. Mixed in among the Splendid Fairy-wrens, Western Gerygones and Southern Whiteface, you see another small bird. It is probably a Thornbill but which one?
The above photo is a group of 5 Thornbills that can be seen around Central Australia. They are numbered 1 to 5. Before you keep reading, open the photo and see if you can identify each one. to help you, in no particular order, here are the names of the five:

  • Inland Thaornbill
  • Slaty-backed Thornbill
  • Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
  • Yellow-rumped Thornbill 
  • Buff-rumped Thornbill
In my next post on this blog, if you are keen to know how well you identified each one, I'll give the answers.

Identifying Thornbills can be difficult. Some of them are easier than others because of their colour, markings and voice, while others are difficult as they look similar to other Thornbills. The Yellow-rumped Thornbills seem to be easiest for me at the moment as they have a very different look and noise, but when you see a bird under the shadows of the foliage of a bush or among the branches above head height with the sun overhead, it can be quite tricky. Eventually though, when you have the time, they do start to be more inquisitive and then once they realise you aren't coming to catch them or hurt them, they can be quite friendly.

Currently the weather is starting to warm up in Central Australia, and as the insects become more active, so too will the Thornbills. An easy access location for these birds is Simpsons Gap, about 15 kms from Alice Springs. I have seen all 5 of the birds in the photo above at this location. Cassia Hill walk and the car park down at the Gap itself seem to have been the most reliable in the past.

If I really haven't got a good photo, I also try really hard to isolate the calls I've heard in my head, and then check on my Pizzey and Knight iPad App of the ones I suspect was the variety. I also use others to help with identification if I'm still unsure and have a good enough photo.

Good luck with the ID above, and enjoy your birding.

1 comment:

  1. Orright, I've written down my answers (two I know, one I suspect & two guesses)
    Can u do "Thornbills of SE Australia" next?
    Peter (SE Australia)