Large-billed Scrubwren

Did you know?

In south-eastern Australia, the Large-billed Scrub-wren rarely builds its own nest. Instead it takes over old or disused nests of other birds, particularly that of its larger relative, the Yellow-throated Scrub-wren, sometimes putting down a new lining over abandoned or infertile eggs.

Calls
Penetrating 'chew' or 'cheer', twitterings while feeding. Also mimics thornbills.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
10cm
Maximum Size: 
12cm
Average size: 
11cm
Average weight: 
10g
Breeding season: 
July to January
Clutch Size: 
Two to five, usually three
Nestling Period: 
13 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
QLD: 
SA: 
VIC: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
494
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Large-billed Scrubwren is a medium-sized, plain-coloured, arboreal (tree-dwelling) scrubwren with a rather short tail. Its long, dagger-like bill appears tilted upwards. The large dark red-brown eye stands out in the pale buff (orange-brown) face. The upperparts are olive-brown, more red-brown on the head and rump and the base of tail is washed rufous (reddish), with light buff underparts.

Similar species: 

The Atherton Scrubwren, S. keri, is similar to the Large-billed Scrubwren but is smaller and slimmer with shorter legs. Unlike the Large-billed Scrubwren, it tends to feed on the ground or a few metres above.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Large-billed Scrubwren occurs in coastal south-eastern Australia, from Cooktown, Queensland to Kinglake National Park north east of Melbourne, Victoria, and inland as far as Chinchilla, Queensland, and Tenterfield, New South Wales.

Habitat: 

The Large-billed Scrubwren lives in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests, from the coastal lowlands to the slopes, ridges and tablelands of the Great Dividing Range.

Seasonal movements: 

Sedentary.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Large-billed Scrubwren, unlike most scrubwrens, does not feed on the ground. It forages for insects and spiders, working upwards on trunks and branches of trees and vines 3 m - 17 m above the forest floor. It usually forages in pairs or small flocks of up to six birds, but can at times also feed in mixed species flocks.

Breeding: 

In south-eastern Australia, it seldom builds its own nest and uses nests of other species, especially the Yellow-throated Scrubwren. When it does build its own nest, it is domed with a side entrance and made of plant stems, rootlets, leaf remnants and moss, lined with feathers.

Living with us

No specific studies of human impacts on Large-billed Scrubwrens have been made, but their habitat would be reduced by extensive clearing of rainforest.

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