Family Scrub-birds (Atrichornithidae)


Rufous Scrub-bird (Atrichornis rufescens)


French: Atrichorne roux German: Rostdickichtvogel Spanish: Matorralero rojizo

Atrichia rufescens

E. P. Ramsay

, 1866,

Richmond River, New South Wales, Australia


Original description in newspaper pre-dates 1867 description in scientific journal#R. Proposed forms jacksoni (Macpherson Range, S Queensland) and tweedi (Tweed R, New South Wales) indistinguishable from nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. r. rufescens (E. P. Ramsay, 1866) – E side of Great Divide from extreme SE Queensland (Mistake Range) S to extreme N New South Wales (S to Gibraltar Range).
  • A. r. ferrieri Schodde & Mason, 1999 – NE New South Wales (from Dorrigo Plateau S to Barrington Tops).
  • Descriptive notes

    17–18·5 cm. Small and compact, with short wings, long, graduated tail. Male has head and neck dark brown with indistinct fine dark barring; rest of upperparts... read more


    Subtropical and temperate rainforest, including beech (Nothofagus) forest, and adjacent... read more

    Food and feeding

    Poorly known. Beetles, scrub-snails (Helix) and snail eggs recorded as taken; probably some plant seeds eaten. Forages on ground... read more


    Poorly known. Season Sept–Nov. Male possibly polygynous, takes no part in nest-building, incubation or brood-rearing, occupies... read more


    Sedentary. Although one immature travelled at least 20 km from nearest suitable breeding habitat,... read more

    Status and conservation

    ENDANGERED. Considered Near Threatened until 2008, the conservation status of this species has deteriorated rapidly, culminating in its uplisting to Endangered in 2012,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Danks, A., de Juana, E. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Rufous Scrub-bird (Atrichornis rufescens). 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 24 May 2019).