Family Thornbills (Acanthizidae)

Least Concern

Inland Thornbill (Acanthiza apicalis)


French: Acanthize troglodyte German: Stelzschwanz-Dornschnabel Spanish: Acantiza apical

Acanthiza apicalis


, 1847,

Swan River and King George Sound, Western Australia


Taxonomy complex. Has often been treated as conspecific with A. pusilla, and some hybridization between the two likely in SE South Australia, where individuals with intermediate plumage occur; race diemenensis of A. pusilla seems to be genetically more like present species. Proposed race tanami (arid interior of N Western Australia E to Duchess, in Queensland) included in whitlocki; proposed race leeuwinensis (humid coast of SW Australia) appears to refer to an intergrade population between nominate and whitlocki. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. a. whitlocki North, 1909 – W & C Australia.
  • A. a. apicalis Gould, 1847 – S coastal and subcoastal Australia.
  • A. a. cinerascens Schodde & Mason, 1999 – CW Queensland.
  • A. a. albiventris North, 1904 – inland CE & SE Australia.
  • Descriptive notes

    9–11·5 cm; 7 g. Medium-sized red-eyed thornbill. Nominate race is grey-brown to brownish-grey above, with whitish or creamy-buff scalloping on forehead, paler... read more


    Musical warbling song with trills, and incorporating mimicry. One song of race whitlocki... read more


    Dense understorey in dry woodlands and sclerophyll forests, tall shrublands and also thick riparian... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily insectivorous, with seeds occasionally taken. Recorded items include spiders (Araneae), beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera),... read more


    Season Jul–Dec, mainly Sept–Nov. Nest compact, round or oval, and domed, with partly hooded side entrance near top, usually... read more


    Resident; some movements reported but not well known, likely to be purely local. In Western... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread in much of arid and semi-arid mainland Australia, but absent from the most severe deserts. Precise distribution in SE of range uncertain... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Inland Thornbill (Acanthiza apicalis). 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 19 February 2019).