Family Whipbirds and Wedgebills (Psophodidae)

Least Concern

Chirruping Wedgebill (Psophodes cristatus)


French: Psophode babillard German: Buschflöter Spanish: Zordala picocuña oriental

Sphenostoma cristatum


, 1838,

New South Wales, Australia


Sister to P. occidentalis, and these two are sister to P. olivaceus, based on recent phylogenetic study#R. Formerly considered conspecific with P. occidentalis and sometimes not even separated subspecifically#R; the two were often isolated in monotypic Sphenostoma. They are very similar but differ markedly in vocalizations#R, present species having a song phrase consisting of fewer notes (ns[3]) but a chirruping note much longer than any note of occidentalis (ns[3]), and with a far higher frequency range (4) and with maximum frequency and total frequency range higher (score 3)#R; moreover, paler-plumaged (1); shorter-tailed with more white on tail tips (1); bill more finch-like (1); habitat chenopod and low acacia shrubberies vs mulga and taller acacia scrub (1); and ranges essentially parapatric (3)#R. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

SE Northern Territory, SW Queensland, NE South Australia and NW New South Wales.

Descriptive notes

19·5–20 cm; 39–42 g. Has conspicuous forward-curving crest dark brown, often with black tip; otherwise grey-brown above, wings somewhat darker than... read more


Song one of earliest bird songs in morning, continues throughout day and often at night, repeated... read more


Low shrublands, particularly chenopods, such as bluebush (Maireana), and acacia (... read more

Food and feeding

Diet consists of insects and some seeds. Forages singly, in pairs and in small groups; rarely joins mixed species foraging flocks. Feeds on... read more


Season Jul–Mar, most eggs Aug–Dec, possibly regulated by rainfall; one or more broods per season. Nest an open cup of small... read more


Not well understood; no large-scale movements known, but possibly nomadic in response to local... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common; rather scattered throughout range.

Recommended citation

Boles, W. (2019). Chirruping Wedgebill (Psophodes cristatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 21 March 2019).