Family Thornbills (Acanthizidae)

Least Concern

Tasmanian Thornbill (Acanthiza ewingii)


French: Acanthize de Tasmanie German: Tasmandornschnabel Spanish: Acantiza de Tasmania

Acanthiza ewingii


, 1844,



Genetically close to A. pusilla and A. apicalis, apparently closer to latter. Sympatric with A. pusilla (which see), and was presumably original colonizer of Tasmania. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. e. rufifrons A. J. Campbell, 1903 – King I, in W Bass Strait, off SE Australia.
  • A. e. ewingii Gould, 1844 – Furneaux Group (E Bass Strait) and mainland Tasmania.
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5–11·5 cm; 7 g. Nominate race has rufous-brown forehead with little or no pale scalloping; lores and feathers around eye grey-brown, suggesting broad pale eyering (... read more


    Sweet musical warbling prefaced by “tsit tsit” contact notes, then “chee cheee chee” series with... read more


    Habitats with dense shrub layer including sedges and tree-ferns, from sea-level to mountains,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food includes spiders (Araneae), beetles (Coleoptera), flies (Diptera), bugs (Hemiptera), wasps (Hymenoptera) and lepidopterans, as well as... read more


    Season Aug–Jan, with eggs recorded mid-Oct to Jan. Breeds as simple pair. Nest built by both sexes, in one case taking 24 days; neat... read more


    Resident; of 259 recoveries of 128 individuals, all were less than 10 km from ringing site. Some... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Tasmania EBA. Quite common in Tasmania; King I race rufifrons formerly rare, but has increased in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2020). Tasmanian Thornbill (Acanthiza ewingii). 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 26 February 2020).