Family Thornbills (Acanthizidae)

Least Concern

New Guinea Thornbill (Acanthiza murina)


French: Acanthize de Nouvelle-Guinée German: Papuadornschnabel Spanish: Acantiza papú
Other common names: Papuan Thornbill

Gerygone murina

De Vis

, 1897,

Mount Scratchley, 12,200 feet [c. 3720 m], south-east New Guinea


Has similarities to NE Australian A. katherina; suggestions that the two evolved from a common ancestor in New Guinea need to be tested by genetic analysis. Monotypic.


Mountains of New Guinea from Snow Mts E to Owen Stanley Range.

Descriptive notes

9–10 cm. Small, pale-eyed drab thornbill. Head and upperparts are brownish-olive, forehead indistinctly mottled lighter (feathers having dark tips and pale bases);... read more


Song a series of pairs of notes, first higher-pitched than second. Squeaky, slightly raspy but... read more


High-altitude montane forest and forest edge, rarely as low as c. 1930 m, and commonest above 2500... read more

Food and feeding

Primarily insectivorous; will visit flowering trees, but uncertain whether for insects or to exploit nectar. Seeds, fruit and flowers found... read more


Largely unknown. Nest domed, with side entrance, located in forest tree; two young in Oct were fed by three adults, which suggests that co-... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Central Papuan Mountains EBA. Fairly common but local species of high altitudes. The remote and inaccessible... read more

Recommended citation

Gregory, P. (2019). New Guinea Thornbill (Acanthiza murina). 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 16 February 2019).