Family Thornbills (Acanthizidae)

Least Concern

Rufous Fieldwren (Calamanthus campestris)


French: Séricorne roussâtre German: Rötelhuscher Spanish: Sedosito rufo

Praticola campestris


, 1841,

plains around Adelaide, South Australia


See C. fuliginosus and C. montanellus. Races fall into groups on basis mainly of plumage characters: greyer “campestris group” (also including rubiginosus); rufous-brown and less streaked “isabellinus group” (with wayensis); pale “dorrie group” (with hartogi); and long-billed race winiam, on its own; limited vocal evidence does not indicate possible species-level divergence among these groups, but much more material needed. Proposed race ethelae (Yorke and Eyre Peninsulas, in South Australia) included in nominate. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. rubiginosus A. J. Campbell, 1899 – CW coast of Western Australia from Exmouth Gulf S to near Geraldton.
  • C. c. dorrie Mathews, 1912 – Dorre I, in Shark Bay (Western Australia).
  • C. c. hartogi Carter, 1916 – Dirk Hartog I, in Shark Bay.
  • C. c. wayensis Mathews, 1912 – saltlakes between S Great Sandy Desert and Meekatharra–Sandstone, in C Western Australia.
  • C. c. campestris (Gould, 1841) – S Western Australia (Nullarbor Plain E from Balladoni–Israelite Bay) and S South Australia (E to coastal Eyre Peninsula and S Yorke Peninsula, S Flinders Ranges, S L Frome Basin and W Murray Mallee).
  • C. c. isabellinus North, 1896 – lower Finke R S to Coober Pedy, SW rim of L Eyre Basin and N part of L Frome Basin, in South Australia.
  • C. c. winiam A. J. Campbell & A. G. Campbell, 1927 – SE South Australia (E from Meningie and the Coorong) and NW Victoria (Big and Little Deserts).
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–13·5 cm; 14 g. A small, streaked acanthizid with short, stout bill, and long, slightly graduated tail usually held cocked. Nominate race has top of... read more


    Song, evidently by both sexes, from top of shrub, apparently geographically variable: nominate race... read more


    Chenopod shrublands dominated by saltbush (Atriplex) and bluebush (Maireana),... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods, including beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera), wasps (Hymenoptera), ants (Formicidae), lepidopterans and orthopterans, also... read more


    Recorded in Jun–Apr, and possibly rainfall-dependent; may be double-brooded in years with good rainfall. Believed to breed as simple... read more


    Resident; some local wandering owing to drought or grazing pressure seems possible.

    Status and conservation

    Not assessed. Uncommon and patchily distributed. Vulnerable to effects of overgrazing (although it tolerates severe conditions), habitat degradation, fire, land clearance,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Rufous Fieldwren (Calamanthus campestris). 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 20 August 2019).