The Pilotbird (Pycnoptilus floccosus) is a species of bird in the Acanthizidae family. It is monotypic within the genus Pycnoptilus. The exact taxonomic placement of this species is disputed, as it bears some resemblance to the bristlebirds. The species is endemic to south east New South Wales and east Victoria in Australia. Its natural habitat is temperate wet sclerophyll forests and occasionally temperate rainforest. There are two subspecies Pycnoptilus floccosus floccosus lives in alpine areas of New South Wales such as the Snowy Mountains and Pycnoptilus floccosus sandfordi lives in lowland forest from Newcastle to Melbourne.
The Pilotbird is a large, plump species of acanthizid, measuring around 18 cm in length and weighing 27 g. It has a large head and a short bill. The plumage is mostly brown with scalloping on the chest and an orangeish throat. The species is highly terrestrial. The name of the species comes from its supposed habit of following lyrebirds, taking prey that they flush. This habit is well known but seldom observed.
- BirdLife International 2004. Pycnoptilus floccosus. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 27 July 2007.