Physical characteristics: Yellow-rumped thornbills average 4 inches (10 centimeters) in length, with a weight of 0.32 ounces (9 grams). They are known for their bright yellow rump—from which they derived their common name—and their black crown with white spots, and white brow.
Geographic range: Yellow-rumped thornbills can be found throughout central and southern Australia, including Tasmania, an island off the southern coast of Australia.
Habitat: Yellow-rumped thornbills inhabit open woodland areas and edges, farmland, grassland that has trees or bushes sparsely located throughout the area, parks, and gardens.
Diet: Yellow-rumped thornbills are omnivores, eating both animals and plants. They eat primarily insects and other invertebrates, and
Yellow-rumped thornbills live in family groups or small flocks with others thornbills. They tend to be active, noisy, and sing with twittering melodies and calls. (Illustration by Amanda Humphrey. Reproduced by permission.)
occasionally, seeds. The birds forage the ground for the most part, but will sometimes forage on shrubs and low trees.
Behavior and reproduction: Yellow-rumped thornbills live in family groups or small flocks with others thornbills. They tend to be active, noisy, and sing with twittering melodies and calls. Their yellow rumps are easy to spot while in flight but they virtually disappear when the birds land. Generally they only move locally, and tend to be non-migratory, sedentary.
The breeding season is from July to December, and sometimes goes later. The nest is domed, built in a bush or sapling, and is made of grass, lichen, and other plant fibers. The side entrance is concealed by a hood. A false cup-shaped nest is put on the top, probably to confuse predators or cuckoos. Both males and females build the nest. Each clutch has two to four lightly speckled, pink eggs. Only the female incubates the eggs, which is a period of eighteen to twenty days. The fledging period lasts seventeen to nineteen days. The parents often have the assistance of helpers. Many nests do not survive predators or the parasites of the bronze-cuckoos.
Yellow-rumped thornbills and people: People are well-acquainted with this colorful bird, and it is particularly familiar to those who live in the country.
Conservation status: This species is not threatened with extinction. ■
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