Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Brown thornbill

Acanthiza pusilla

Photo by Glen Fergus (Wikipedia)

Common name:
brown thornbill (en); acantiza-castanho (pt); acanthize mignon (fr); acantiza parda (es); roststirn-dornschnabel (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Acanthizidae

This species is endemic to Australia, being found in eastern and south-eastern Australia, including Tasmania.

Brown thornbills are 9-11,5 cm long and weigh 7 g.

This species is found in dense shrubby habitats including wet and dry forests, woodlands, scrublands, heathlands and rainforests, as well as along watercourses, mainly in the temperate and sub-tropical zones. They are also found in parks and gardens, especially close to large patches of remnant vegetation and along nature strips in towns and suburbs. The brown thornbill is present from sea level up to an altitude of 1200 m.

They are mostly insectivorous, but sometimes feed on seeds, nectar and fruits.

Brown thornbills nest in July-January. The female builds a small oval, domed nest with a partially hooded entrance near the top out of grasses, bark and other materials, lining it with feathers, fur or soft plant down. The nest is usually low down, in low, prickly bushes, grass clumps, or ferns. There she lays 2-4 eggs which she incubates alone for 19 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 16 days after hatching, but stay with the parents until early autumn, before being driven out of the parental territory.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The brown thornbill has a large breeding range and his described as common and widespread. It is adversely affected by fires that reduce understorey, but may benefit from any clearing activity that increases shrubby vegetation cover. They are also sometimes caught by cats, but overall the species is not considered threatened at present.

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