Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Acanthornis magna
(Viewing 4 of 8 photos)

Fairly quiet and unobtrusive, Scrubtits appear to live as pairs in permanent territories and from my limited experience in Tasmania, these territories seem to be fairly large for such a small bird in a dense habitat - perhaps why many a casual visitor to Tasmania finds them difficult to see. There is one record of Scrubtits collecting nest material nearly 200 m from the nest site. They inhabit a variety of thick, low vegetation but wetter gullies with a dense layer of tree ferns are good places to look. Conversely, visitors to Cradle Mountain sometimes see them in the sub-alpine vegetation quite close to their cabins. They have a simple, sweet song which is occasional rather than sustained (the bane of sound recordists!). Listen on David Stewart's CD "Australian Bird Calls - Tasmania". More often given (but seldom noticed) is their very high pitched repeated contact call. Those who can hear this call can locate the birds easily. Scrubtits occupy a similar niche to that inhabited by Large-billed Scrubwrens on the mainland - that is rarely on the ground, but mostly in the layer of vegetation up to about 10 m high where they forage amongst the trunks and tangled vegetation rather than amongst leafy canopy. Tree fern trunks are a favourite.

Ferndene near Ulverstone, Hellyer Gorge, the Hogarth Falls track in Strahan, all along the road from Strahan to Derwent Bridge ( Collingwood River and Frankland River are good stopping places),The Fern Glade track at Mt. Wellington, Weilangta Forest, Mavista Reserve on Bruny Island and Mount Field National Park are all good places to look. On King Island a different subspecies occurs and is regarded as endangered. For an excellent panorama of Scrubtit habitat, go to

Photo: 487201-D

487201-D ... Scrubtit. A favourite foraging site is around the base of tree ferns.

Photo: 487202-D

487202-D ... Scrubtit.

Photo: 487204-D

487204-D ... Scrubtit, adult

Photo: 487207-D

487207-D ... Scrubtit

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