Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Striated thornbill

Acanthiza lineata

Photo by Patrick Kavanagh (Flickr)

Common name:
striated thornbill (en); acantiza-estriado (pt); acanthize ridé (fr); acantiza estriada (es); Stricheldornschnabel (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Acanthizidae

Range:
This species is endemic to south-eastern Australia, being found from south-eastern Queensland down to Victoria and westwards into south-eastern South Australia.

Size:
These birds are 9-11 cm long and weigh 7 g.

Habitat:
The striated thornbill is mainly found in Eucalyptus forests and woodlands, also using other forest habitats but always preferring areas with a well-developed understorey. They can also use scrublands, mangroves, pastures, arable land and gardens within urban areas.

Diet:
They feed on a wide range of small arthropods, including spiders, insect larvae, flies, beetles, and bugs including psyllids (lerps). They may be important in reducing psyllid infestations in areas where bell miners Manorina melanophrys, which 'farm' the psyllids, have been removed.

Breeding:
Striated thornbills breed in June-March. They can breed in single pairs or in small cooperative groups of related birds. Both males and females help build the nest which consists of an oval, domed structure with a hooded entrance near the top, made of bark mixed with lichens, mosses and spider webs. The nest is lined with feathers, fur or soft plant down and typically placed in the outer branches of trees, scrubs and vine-covered saplings, mainly of Eucalyptus. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which she incubates alone for about 17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents along with other members of the family group and fledge about 20 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be sometimes common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and degradation, but it is not considered threatened at present.

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