Rockwarbler

Did you know?

The Rockwarbler nests in caves, usually in near or complete darkness.

Calls
A shrill, slight mournful 'goodbye' song and a penetrating 'pink' call, along with other rasping notes.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Average size: 
14cm
Average weight: 
14g
Breeding season: 
August to January
Clutch Size: 
3
Incubation: 
23 days
Nestling Period: 
21 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
505
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Rockwarbler is a small bird restricted to the sandstone formations around the Sydney region of New South Wales. It is a dark brown-grey bird with a cinnamon-tinged face and forehead, a dull white throat speckled black, reddish-brown underparts, and a black tail, which is often flicked sideways. The wings are dark grey-brown. Young birds are similar to adults but duller.

Similar species: 

The Rockwarbler could be confused with the similarly shaped Pilotbird, but has a narrower tail that is flicked sideways (the Pilotbird holds its tail low or flicks it up and down). The Rockwarbler is also smaller, slimmer, and paler in colour, with a white chin and throat.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Rockwarbler is confined to areas on and around the Great Dividing Range, mainly within a 240 km radius of Sydney.

Habitat: 

The Rockwarbler is found on Hawkesbury and other Sydney sandstone formations and nearby limestone formations. It is usually found around rocky outcrops, in steep rocky gullies and usually near water, including along sea-cliffs in coastal areas.

Seasonal movements: 

Sedentary.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Rockwarbler mainly eats insects and sometimes seeds. It forages on the ground and in low branches, probing for insects in rock crevices, in caves and under ledges.

Breeding: 

Rockwarblers live in monogamous pairs in a permanent home-range. The nest site is usually in a sandstone (occasionally limestone or granite) cave, in total or near-darkness and is re-used each year. It will also nest in darkened buildings, under rafters, on verandahs or in house eaves. The nest is a suspended dome-shaped structure made from roots, moss, grass and bark bound together with spider webs, and has a round side entrance that is sometimes hooded. The inner nest chamber is lined with soft materials, including feathers, fur, grasses and plant down. Both parents feed the young, which stay with their parents for some time after fledging. Sometimes parasitised by Fan-tailed Cuckoo.

Living with us

Rockwarblers have declined in areas cleared for urban development around the Sydney region, but much of its remaining habitat is protected in reserves.

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