Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Western Bristlebird
Dasyornis longirostris
(Viewing 4 of 8 photos)

Click to listen to sound samples Prior to European settlement Western Bristlebirds occurred right across the dwarf coastal heathlands of southern WA from Walpole in the west to near Hopetoun. Contrary to assertions made back in 1941, Western Bristlebirds probably never occurred anywhere near Perth - their key habitat didn't extend so far north. This mistaken assertion was based on the mis-identification of a nest of a "reed wren"collected near Perth by John Gilbert which rightly belonged to a Little Grassbird. When John Gilbert, who was working in Australia on behalf of John Gould, later found the first nest ever found of a Western Bristlebird near Albany, he said so. Finding a Western Bristlebird's nest is no mean feat - I've only ever seen one and that was shown to me. Just as with Eastern Bristlebirds (to which they are closely related - some say they are only subspecies) the range of Western Bristlebirds has slowly contracted over the years and now they are classed as endangered. Recent efforts to re-establish a few birds back in one of their old haunts near Walpole has met with limited success. Otherwise their range is now confined to national parks and reserves between Two Peoples Bay near Albany and East Mt. Barren in Fitzgerald National Park.

Like their eastern counterparts, Western Bristlebirds live as pairs in permanent territories of about 7 Ha. Their heathland habitat is constantly threatened by wildfire, probably the greatest threat to their continued survival. Fires in those windswept southern coastal heaths sometimes rage and burn out huge areas.

Photo: 520202

520202 ... Western Bristlebird, Two Peoples Bay, W.A.

Photo: 520203

520203 ... In certain light they can look quite spangled on the back.

Photo: 520204

520204 ... Western Bristlebird

Photo: 520205

520205 ... Western Bristlebird, adult male.

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