Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Rock Warbler
Origma solitaria
(Viewing 4 of 6 photos)

Click to listen to sound samples The Rock Warbler is the only bird endemic to New South Wales.

Rock Warblers are restricted to a narrow coastal band of country known as the Hawkesbury Sandstone between the Hunter Valley in the north, south to near Bermagui. The craggy cliffs and caves characteristic of the sandstone formations are their principal haunts although they do occasionally occur in suitable nearby limestone outcrops.

The name solitaria is fairly apt. They don't seem to feed together in close contact - mostly you'll see just a single bird, but the other one would be there somewhere for so far as is known they live together as pairs in permanent territories, except for a short time after nesting when family parties occur - flocks are not known.

They feed almost entirely on the ground, hopping along and poking into all sorts of cracks and crevices - vertical rock faces are no obstacle and there are even records of them hanging upside down under the roof of a cave. Indeed, a popular name often applied to them is Cave Bird, no doubt because of their singular habit of suspending their hanging nest to the roof of a cave. There are even records of them nesting inside sheds or bush dwellings.

They do have a liking also of foraging near running water but in drier times of the year they move out into the undergrowth well away from creeks or open sandstone. They are fairly quiet little birds and their sweet little song doesn't carry very far. (Listen on sound page).

Photo: 505202

505202 ... Rock Warbler - the only species of bird endemic to NSW.

Photo: 505204

505204 ... Rock Warbler

Photo: 505206

505206 ... Rock Warbler

Photo: 505207-D

505207-D ... Ideal rugged sandstone habitat at Boyd Lookout S of Nowra, NSW.

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