Family Thornbills (Acanthizidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa)


French: Acanthize à croupion jaune German: Gelbbürzel-Dornschnabel Spanish: Acantiza culigualda

Saxicola chrysorrhoa

Quoy and Gaimard

, 1830,

King George Sound, Western Australia


Geographical variation to some extent clinal, and all three mainland races appear to intergrade; absence from Bass Strait islands suggests that Tasmanian race leachi may now be isolated. Other proposed races include ferdinandi (WC Australia, also Great Victoria Desert), which apparently relates to intergrading populations; sandlandi (coastal SC & SE Australia) and addenda (NW Victoria), both considered synonyms of leighi; and pallida (arid parts of Western Australia) and multi (humid SW Western Australia), both synonymized with nominate. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. chrysorrhoa (Quoy & Gaimard, 1830) – CW, SW & S Western Australia.
  • A. c. normantoni (Mathews, 1913) – C & inland NE Australia.
  • A. c. leighi Ogilvie-Grant, 1909 – S & SE Australia.
  • A. c. leachi Mathews, 1912 – N & E Tasmania.
  • Descriptive notes

    9·5–12 cm; 9 g. A large, distinctive yellow-rumped thornbill with short tail and long slender bill; largest member of genus. Nominate race has forehead blackish... read more


    Distinctive song a twittering, musical, sweet, high-pitched, quite sibilant, far-carrying trilled... read more


    Various open habitats, including understorey of open eucalypt (Eucalyptus) woodland and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily arthropods; also seeds. Major prey items include ants (Formicidae), beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera) including lerps (... read more


    Recorded throughout year over extensive range; in all months except Feb and Mar in Western Australia, and Jul–Dec in Tasmania;... read more


    Primarily resident; some local movements reported, with autumn-winter occurrences at some sites. Of... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and common over large area of mainland Australia and Tasmania. Has adapted to modified habitats. Declines noted around major cities, such... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2020). Yellow-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa). 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 28 January 2020).