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Dasyornithidae – Bristlebirds

Eastern Bristlebird in Australia: Photo by Ian Mo

The bristlebirds, belonging to the family Dasyornithidae, are found in the dense undergrowth of southeastern and southwestern Australia. This family includes only three species, all of which are known for their elusive nature and preference for thick vegetation.

Overview of Dasyornithidae

These long-tailed, short-winged Australian birds are named for the two small bristle-like feathers that protrude from between their eyes and bills. Secretive residents of dense Australian scrub habitats, most of what we know about the breeding biology of these mid-sized brown birds comes from very limited field observations. Frustrated observers might have better luck hearing them, as all three species have sweet but penetrating voices. During the breeding season, males and females sing antiphonal duets. Future study of these birds offers a fitting challenge for aspiring field ornithologists in the sunburned country!