Family Thornbills (Acanthizidae)

Least Concern

Slender-billed Thornbill (Acanthiza iredalei)


French: Acanthize d’Iredale German: Grunddornschnabel Spanish: Acantiza de Iredale

Acanthiza iredalei


, 1911,

Lake Way, west-central Western Australia


Sister to A. robustirostris, based on recent DNA analysis#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. i. iredalei Mathews, 1911 – patchily in W, C & SE Western Australia and SW South Australia.
  • A. i. hedleyi Mathews, 1912 – deserts of SE South Australia and Little Desert of CW Victoria.
  • A. i. rosinae Mathews, 1913 – coastal South Australia, fringing Gulf St Vincent.
  • Descriptive notes

    8·5–11 cm; 6 g. Small thornbill with rather fine bill, heavily scalloped forehead. Nominate race has blackish forehead patch coarsely scalloped white, narrow... read more


    Song a wavering “preeur” trill of up to several seconds’ duration (not often... read more


    Chenopod shrublands of samphire, bluebush (Maireana), saltbush (Atriplex), and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Prey includes centipedes (Chilopoda), spiders (Araneae), beetles (Coleoptera), flies (Diptera), bugs (Hemiptera), bees, wasps and ants (... read more


    Season Jul–Nov throughout range. Breeds as pair; some suggestion of possible rare co-operative breeding (5–6 individuals taking... read more


    Sedentary; in colour-ringing study, individuals highly sedentary within 25-ha study area, with... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Localized and uncommon; tends to be rather quiet and inconspicuous in often inaccessible habitat. Thought to have declined in arid inland areas such... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Slender-billed Thornbill (Acanthiza iredalei). 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 February 2019).