Western Bristlebird

Dasyornis longirostris

Superficially similar to the Noisy Scrub-bird, and overlaps in part of its range, but is smaller (17 to 20 cm) and has bold white streaking and red eye. A couple of characteristics that distinguishes the two species is the Western Biristlebird’s tendency to call periodically from an elevated perch on top of a low bush, and also its habit of flying a short distance with its tail fanned when disturbed, before scurrying to the safety of dense cover. It prefers shrubland areas that have been burnt periodically (around 5 to 10 years). Both sexes are similar in colour and pattern, being generally dark brown, with conspicuous white streaks on the feathers of the mantle, and a rufous ash to the wings. The call, a melodious ‘chip-pee-tee-peetle-pet’, which is often followed by the response from its mate ‘quick more beer’, is not as penetrating as the Noisy Scrub-bird, and is given throughout the year, with a slight increase in frequency during the breeding season (August to January). It inhabits the lower level of dense shrubland, where it can be hard to see, although it will venture onto road fringes and paths when foraging.