Family Thornbills (Acanthizidae)

Least Concern

Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana)


French: Acanthize nain German: Gelbbauch-Dornschnabel Spanish: Acantiza enana

Acanthiza nana

Vigors and Horsfield

, 1827,

Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia


Nominate and modesta intergrade; in addition, latter race varies clinally, generally becoming paler from S to N. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. n. flava H. L. White, 1922 – NE Queensland (Atherton and Evelyn uplands), in NE Australia.
  • A. n. modesta De Vis, 1905 – SE Queensland S inland (W of Great Dividing Range) to SE South Australia and Victoria.
  • A. n. nana Vigors & Horsfield, 1827 – coastal and subcoastal SE Australia (extreme SE Queensland S to SE New South Wales).
  • Descriptive notes

    8·5–10 cm; 6–7 g. Small to medium-sized thornbill, the yellowest of the genus. Nominate race has forehead to hindneck olive to dull yellowish-olive (greyer... read more


    A repeated disyllabic “tzid-id” or “tzid- id, tiz-tiz”, rather less insect-... read more


    Open forest, and shrublands in drier woodland. Inhabits casuarina (Casuarina), cypress... read more

    Food and feeding

    Major prey items include ants and wasps (Hymenoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera) including lerps (Psyllidae), flies (Diptera... read more


    Season Jul–Mar (spring, summer and autumn) throughout range; sometimes double-brooded. Breeds solitarily as pair; sometimes co-... read more


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

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and locally common. Race flava of far N Queensland poorly known, and occupies fairly limited range. This species suffers locally... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana). 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 17 February 2019).