Family Grasshopper-warblers and Grassbirds (Locustellidae)

Least Concern

Little Grassbird (Poodytes gramineus)


French: Mégalure menue German: Zwergschilfsänger Spanish: Yerbera chica

Sphenoeacus gramineus


, 1845,



Previously placed in Megalurus. Plumage pattern and biogeography suggest ancestral link with P. punctatus of New Zealand, and possibly also with Madagascar’s Amphilais seebohmi (which see). Validity of poorly known race papuensis doubted in past, but separating characters have recently been confirmed and the taxon may merit further attention given its isolation#R. Race thomasi sometimes included in nominate#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. g. papuensis (Junge, 1952) – W New Guinea (Wissel Lakes area, in W Snow Mts).
  • P. g. thomasi (Mathews, 1912) – SW Western Australia (S from Shark Bay).
  • P. g. goulburni (Mathews, 1912) – E Australia from E Northern Territory and Queensland (S from Atherton) S to E South Australia and S Victoria.
  • P. g. gramineus (Gould, 1845) – SE Australia (Tasmania and islands in Bass Strait).
  • Descriptive notes

    14–16 cm; c. 25 g. An almost uniformly brown, but well-streaked, small grassbird with moderately long and graduated tail, rectrices distinctly pointed, becoming frayed... read more


    Song, uttered by day or by night and often the first clue to species’ presence, a plaintive,... read more


    Variety of dense wetland vegetation, including reedbeds (Phragmites), cumbungi (Typha... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food almost entirely small insects and their larvae, also other invertebrates, both land and aquatic, such as spiders (Araneae) and small... read more


    Chiefly between Aug and Jan, at onset of local rains, but season may be more prolonged in very wet years, and those moving into normally... read more


    Chiefly resident; with such a skulking and quiet (outside breeding season) species, however,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally quite common in coastal and subcoastal districts of SW & SE Australia, including Tasmania, but somewhat patchily distributed (restricted... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2019). Little Grassbird (Poodytes gramineus). 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 April 2019).