Fun Inland Thornbill Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 07, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Sep 10, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Inland thornbill facts will captivate both parents and their kids
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

The inland thornbill (Acanthiza apicalis) is a member of the Australian Warblers family and the order Passeriformes. They are also known as broad-tailed thornbill with their native region being the Australian nation. Many people get confused about the inland thornbill with the brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) because of their similar colors. This species of thornbill can be further divided into four subcategories, the Acanthiza apicalis albiventris, the Acanthiza apicalis cinerascens, the Acanthiza apicalis whitlocki and the Acanthiza apicalis apicalis.

The habitats of the inland thornbill include scrublands and dry woodlands while also inhabiting coastal regions such as jarrah forests. They build their nests in low-hanging branches or foliage. The inland thornbill forages in small groups or in pairs to search for spiders and small insects for feeding purposes.

For now, the inland thornbill is under the least concern list on the IUCN Red List and hopefully, it will remain there for years to come.

For more information about other species of birds, please check out Glossy ibis and Sarus crane

Inland Thornbill Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an inland thornbill?

An inland thornbill (Acanthiza apicalis) is a bird species that are found in inland Australia and a subspecies to the thornbill family Acanthiza.

What class of animal does an inland thornbill belong to?

Like most other bird species, the inland thornbill also belongs to the Aves class of creatures.

How many inland thornbills are there in the world?

The exact population density of the inland thornbill in the world is not known. However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has reported that the thornbills have a decreasing population trend.

Where does an inland thornbill live?

Callitris woodlands and dry eucalypt are favorable residing spots for the brown thornbill along with acacia scrublands and jarrah forests.

What is an inland thornbill's habitat?

The distribution of the inland thornbill range is abundant throughout inland Australia. The species is found in western New South Wales, central Northern Territory, north-western Victoria, and the entirety of southwestern Australia situated below the Tropic of Capricorn. The search for inland thornbill sightings also extends to South Australia with the exception of the southeast. They overlap with the brown thornbill range along the hills of the Great Dividing Range from Victoria to Queensland. The bird is not found in tropical northern Australia or in Tasmania. Inland thornbill habitat also is found in woodlands in the coastal underparts of southwestern Australia.

The nest of inland thornbill consists of a small domed nest made of dry grasses and bark strips that are lightly held together by spider webs while being lined with feathers. The nest has a hooded entrance hole and is located in low shrubs and branches.

Who do inland thornbills live with?

Not much information is available about the fact whether inland thornbills stay in clusters or on their own. These birds have been known to persist in a few developed areas such as road verges and shelter belts.

How long does an inland thornbill live?

It is regrettable to mention that there is not much information on the longevity of inland thornbills that makes it difficult to inform the minimum or the maximum age of these birds. However, based on studies of other Acanthiza species of Australia such as the brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla), the average lifespan of these birds should be between 11-17 years in the shrubs.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of inland thornbills begins during the month of July and continues till December, which makes it one of the longer breeding seasons. During this breeding season, the inland thornbill female lays an average of three inland thornbill eggs in a single clutch. Though the incubation period of these birds has not been researched enough, scientists have informed that the incubation goes on for 19 days. After birth, the newborn birds leave after 17 days.

What is their conservation status?

As per the reports of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the inland thornbill is a species of Least Concern with a decreasing population trend. Although clearance of habitats and fires have caused a drop in the numbers, inland thornbills seem to persist in a few developed areas.

Inland Thornbill Fun Facts

What do inland thornbills look like?

One of the most common thornbills of inland Australia, the description of inland thornbill appearance consists of grey-brown upperparts while the forehead contains black and white scalloping. The tail is often held cocked with a white tip on a dark band. It has a bright rufous rump while the underparts are off-white. The throat to lower breast region has a streaked blackish appearance. The color of the eye is deep red.

Although both sexes have similar appearances, the inland thornbill male is slightly larger than the female. Also knows as the broad-tailed thornbill, adult birds have a bit different appearance from young birds who have a more diffuse and slightly paler streaking. These birds are also called broad-tailed thornbills and are not be confused with the brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla).

Build their nests in low hanging branches

How cute are they?

These birds can be considered pretty cute due to their cocked tail and reddish-brown rump. Even the cream-colored belly adds to the cuteness factor of this subspecies of the Acanthiza genus.

How do they communicate?

The inland thornbill is also called the “pleasing songster” due to its powerful voice which contradicts its diminutive structure. A few of its calls are similar to the calls of the red-throat thornbill and the Slaty-backed thornbill, which makes it difficult for identification in the wild. The inland thornbill is known to produce accomplished mimicry of several other species with almost deceptive versions of the Grey Fantail, the Rufous Whistler, the Bush Stone-Curfew, the Willie Wagtail, the Pied Butcherbird, and several cuckoos. Curiously it is not able to mimic the complex calls of the Grey Shrike-thrush.

How big is an inland thornbill?

The inland thornbill is a diminutive bird with full-grown adults having an average length of 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm). If we compare it to the black-billed cuckoo, the thornbill is three times smaller than the cuckoo.

How fast can an inland thornbill fly?

The flight speed of inland thornbills is not available.

How much does an inland thornbill weigh?

An inland thornbill weighs about 0.3 oz (7 g) which makes it one of the lightest birds in the world, although they remain heavier than the bee hummingbird but lighter than the lesser goldfinch.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for male and female subspecies of the inland thornbill.

What would you call a baby inland thornbill?

A baby inland thornbill has no special name different from its rumped parents.

What do they eat?

This species of bird feeds on small insects and spiders while hunting in small parties or in pairs. The search for foraging is usually done in the foliage of trees and dense shrubs. It may occasionally feed on little vegetable matter and few seeds. During the non-breeding season, it may occasionally meet with mixed flocks of various other species of smaller birds and feed with them.

Are they poisonous?

These birds are not usually aggressive or dangerous but they could be carriers of harmful pathogens such as viruses.

Would they make a good pet?

No, the inland thornbill is a wild bird and is not suitable for a life in captivity, unlike other pet birds such as the macaw.

Did you know...

The inland thornbills are endemic exclusively to inland Australia and hence their name is a result of this fact.

You can identify the inland thornbill birds with their reddish rump and white tip on a dark tail.

The description of inland thornbill feathers on the body is important since it is often confused with the brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla). The brown thornbill is different even though it also feeds on small insects and spiders and vegetable matter occassionally.

Are inland thornbills endangered?

No, the inland thornbill is not endangered. The leading rumped thornbill is least concerned according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Is the inland thornbill a migratory bird?

No, the inland thornbill is not a migratory bird.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these giant cowbird facts and ani bird facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bird coloring pages.

Second image by Ron Knight from Seaford, East Sussex, United Kingdom

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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