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Acanthizidae – Thornbills and Allies

Blue-mantled Thornbill in Ecuador: Ben Lucking

Acanthizidae, commonly known as thornbills and gerygones, are a diverse family of small passerine birds found primarily in Australasia, particularly Australia and nearby islands.

Overview of Acanthizidae

Acanthizids, colloquially dubbed the “little brown birds” of Australia and New Guinea, are active foragers commonly observed hopping through branches or scouring the ground for insect prey. Their plumage typically ranges from shades of brown to mousy gray, occasionally accented with hints of yellow or green, or adorned with distinctive masks and eye-stripes. Possessing a generalized songbird profile, they exhibit a diverse range of sizes akin to the variability found among “warblers” on other continents. Notably, acanthizids often employ communal nesting strategies for protection against predators, with some species nesting alongside social spiders, while others opt for proximity to wasps or birds of prey.