Eastern Whipbird

Did you know?

The Whipbirds' long whip call, one of the most characteristic sounds of the Australian bush, is performed as a duet. The male makes the drawn out whip crack and the female usually follows quickly with a sharp "choo-choo".

Calls
Male: drawn out whip crack; female: a sharp "choo-choo".
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
26cm
Maximum Size: 
30cm
Average size: 
28cm
Average weight: 
56g
Breeding season: 
July to December
Clutch Size: 
2 to 3 eggs
Incubation: 
18 days
Nestling Period: 
12 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
QLD: 
SA: 
VIC: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
421
What does it look like?
Description: 

Adult Eastern Whipbirds are mostly dark olive-green above, with a long tail, and a grey-white belly. The head and breast are black, with a broad white patch on the side of the face and a black crest. The eye is pale cream and the bill is black. Young whip birds are generally duller, with a smaller crest. The white cheek patch is absent in very young birds, and increases in size as the birds mature.

Similar species: 

Eastern Whipbirds are hard to confuse with any other Australian bird. The much rarer Western Whipbird, Psophodes nigrogularis, of southern and south-western Australia, has an olive-brown crest and a smaller white face patch. It is also smaller, measuring 22 to 24 cm.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The range of the Eastern Whipbird is from northern Queensland to Victoria along the coastal band of eastern Australia.

Habitat: 

Eastern Whipbirds live in wet habitats, including rainforest, eucalypt forest and dense scrub near watercourses, in dense vegetation near the ground. The birds are secretive, but can be curious, and will be seen if the observer remains patient.

Seasonal movements: 

Sedentary; The birds remain in the same area all year round.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Eastern Whipbird feeds on insects and other small invertebrates, which are caught on the ground by bill. Feeding takes place alone, in pairs or in small family groups.

Breeding: 

A breeding pair of Eastern Whipbirds occupies a territory, which is defended year round, with the mates staying together for many years. The female makes a cup nest of sticks and bark, which is lined with finer grasses, and placed in dense vegetation near the ground. The female also incubates the eggs. The young birds are fed by both parents. Sometimes two broods are raised in a single season.

Living with us

In the north, the Eastern Whipbird's distribution has become patchy where its habitat has been cleared.

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