Family Bristlebirds (Dasyornithidae)

Least Concern

Rufous Bristlebird (Dasyornis broadbenti)


French: Dasyorne roux German: Rotkopf-Borstenvogel Spanish: Picocerdas rufo

Sphenura Broadbenti


, 1867,

24 miles [38 km] from Portland Bay, Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia


Possible intermediates between nominate race and caryochrous in Victoria; further study required. Proposed race whitei (SE South Australia) inseparable from nominate. Extinct race †litoralis may have been a separate species (smaller and brighter, apparently vocally different). Two extant subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. b. litoralis (Milligan, 1902) – coastal SW Western Australia (Cape Naturaliste S to Cape Mentelle and Margaret R).
  • D. b. broadbenti (McCoy, 1867) – coastal SE South Australia (E from the Coorong) and SW Victoria (E to Portland Bay).
  • D. b. caryochrous Schodde & Mason, 1999 – from Peterborough E along coast to Otway Peninsula, in S Victoria.
  • Descriptive notes

    25 cm; c. 77 g. The largest bristlebird, with long graduated tail with rounded tip, short rounded wings, medium-length slightly decurved bill; crown feathers sometimes raised... read more


    Song, throughout year and through day, but most frequently in breeding season (when also responds... read more


    Primarily low, dense shrubland and heathland on coastal dunes and cliffs, sometimes extending up to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily invertebrates (mainly insects), seeds, fruit and green shoots. Invertebrates recorded are cockroaches (Blattodea), larval and... read more


    Season Aug–Jan; single-brooded. Probably mates for life. Nests as simple pair, apparently occupying same site over long period; pair... read more


    Resident with some local movement, especially after fires. In ringing programmes and radio-tracking... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in South-east Australia EBA and (formerly) South-west Australia EBA. Race litoralis (almost certainly... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Rufous Bristlebird (Dasyornis broadbenti). 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 25 April 2019).