Scrubtit

Did you know?

The Scrubtit was first described scientifically by John Gould back in 1855, who placed it amongst the thornbills.

Calls
Quiet most of the time, but with a loud whistle. Described as a "sweet little song.. with modest tinkling notes". Other calls are a soft "peep" or "cheep" and an alarm call described as "to-wee-to", or "to-wee-to-wee".
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
11cm
Maximum Size: 
12cm
Average size: 
12cm
Average weight: 
10g
Breeding season: 
September to January, but usually October to November.
Clutch Size: 
usually 3
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
487
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Scrubtit is a small brown bird with a short thin bill. It is mostly brown on its upper side grading to reddish brown on its upper body, and is yellowish white underneath. It has a white spot on its wing near the shoulder, a black band near the end of its tail, and a grey face. It has also been called the Tasmanian or White-breasted Scrubtit, Fern Weaver, and Mountain Wren.

Similar species: 

The Scrubtit is similar to the slightly larger Tasmanian Scrubwren, Sericornis humilis, which has a white brow line, lighter eye and more greyish throat.  But the paler front of the Scrubtit is distinctive. The Scrubtit also spends more time in and on trees than does the Scrubwren. It is also distinguishable from the Brown, Acanthiza pusilla,  and Tasmanian,  A. ewingii, Thornbills by its larger size, its curved bill, its brighter reddish-brown upper parts, its white chin, throat and breast, and white shoulder spot, and its obvious grey face.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Scrubtit is found in Tamania, mostly in the south and west, and on King Island, in Bass Strait.

Habitat: 

The Scrubtit is mainly found in cool-temperate rain forests but also in moist eucalypt forests, usually with a dense understorey of ferns or shrubs, often in gullies and on wetter slopes.

Seasonal movements: 

Scrubtits stay in the same area all year round.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

Scrubtits live on invertebrates, principally insects, but sometimes snails or spiders. They mostly forage on trees but sometimes on the ground. They mainly probe bark and cracks on tree trunks and branches and trunks of tree-ferns. They will also forage on branches of shrubs, amongst leaves and in leaf-litter. 

Breeding: 

Scrubtits build their nests in dense vegetation near the ground but will go higher sometimes. The nest has a globular shape, with a side entrance, which has a small hood. It is bulky for the size of the bird. Hairs from tree-ferns are a major component of the nesting material but other materials include bark strips, rootlets, fern-fronds, grass, leaves and twigs. Both male and female parents feed the chicks. It is not known if both incubate the eggs and the incubation period is also unknown. 

Living with us

On King Island clearing has reduced habitat  and the population there is critically endangered. Formerley Scrubtit eggs were collected.

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