Family Thornbills (Acanthizidae)

Least Concern

Southern Whiteface (Aphelocephala leucopsis)


French: Acanthize blanchâtre German: Fahlrücken-Weißstirnchen Spanish: Cariblanco meridional

Xerophila leucopsis


, 1841,

South Australia


Races moderately distinct in plumage, and some vocal differences have been reported but further work needed; races probably intergrade in SE Western Australia, although circumstances poorly known. Paler birds from SC Australia (S Northern Territory, NW South Australia and adjacent Western Australia) included in nominate, but sometimes considered to represent a separate race (whitei). Two subspecies presently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. l. castaneiventris (Milligan, 1903) – Chestnut-flanked Whiteface – C Western Australia.
  • A. l. leucopsis (Gould, 1841) – Southern Whiteface – SE Western Australia E to S Queensland, inland E New South Wales and Victoria.
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5–12·5 cm; 12·5 g. Largely terrestrial tubby, short-tailed, stout-billed acanthizid. Nominate race is brown-grey to grey-brown above, with... read more


    Often very vocal, giving persistent sibilant trilling series not unlike that of a fairy-wren (... read more


    Arid and semi-arid acacia (Acacia) and eucalypt (Eucalyptus) woodland and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily arthropods, also seeds and leaves. Arthropod prey mainly insects, includes beetles (Coleoptera), lepidopteran larvae, ants (... read more


    Recorded in all months, mostly Jul–Nov and Mar–Apr; may rear several broods in a season. Nests mainly as pair, but communal and... read more


    Mainly resident; some local drought-related movements, to wetter areas not normally occupied.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common; rather patchily distributed. Has declined in many areas; reasons unknown, but probably related to habitat degradation and loss... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Southern Whiteface (Aphelocephala leucopsis). 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).