Family Logrunners (Orthonychidae)

Least Concern

Chowchilla (Orthonyx spaldingii)


French: Orthonyx de Spalding German: Schwarzkopfflöter Spanish: Colaespina de Spalding

Orthonix [sic] spaldingii

E. P. Ramsay

, 1868,

Rockingham Bay, Queensland, Australia


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. s. melasmenus Schodde & Mason, 1999 – NE Australia in coastal ranges from Mt Amos and Mt Finnegan S to Thornton Range (NE Queensland).
  • O. s. spaldingii E. P. Ramsay, 1868 – Macalister and Herberton Ranges S to Seaview and Paluma Ranges (NE Queensland).
  • Descriptive notes

    24–29 cm; male 150–215g, female 113–144 g. Male nominate race has crown and nape black, eyering pale blue-grey, upperparts dark olive-brown, upperwing dark... read more


    Song a loud, ringing “chow-chilla-chow-chow-chilla” or “chowy-chook-chook chowy-... read more


    Tropical rainforest, including primary forest and areas of regrowth 20–30 years old, usually... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and other terrestrial invertebrates; occasionally frogs, small lizards, and seeds. Forages on ground. Initially removes leaf litter... read more


    Season extends throughout year, eggs in May–Feb (usually Jul–Dec), young leave nest in wet season; usually one brood per season... read more


    Sedentary. All recaptures of marked individuals made less than 10 km from initial ringing site.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Queensland Wet Tropics EBA. Common. Has suffered some reduction of range as a result of habitat loss, but no... read more

    Recommended citation

    Boles, W. (2020). Chowchilla (Orthonyx spaldingii). 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 26 February 2020).