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Yellow-throated Scrubwren Picture

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The Yellow-throated Scrubwren (Sericornis citreogularis) is a passerine bird found in parts of eastern coastal Australia. Placed in the family Pardalotidae in the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy, this has met with opposition and indeed is now known to be wrong; they rather belong to the independent family Acanthizidae.

A small ground-dwelling bird that inhabits wet forest or rainforest, it is insectivorous. The bird has a distinctive yellow throat and eybrow. The male face is black and the female brown. The crown and upperparts are dark- to olive-brown, and the underparts cream, white or washed-out olive. The wings are dark brown and edged with yellow. Breeding twice or more in a long breeding season, it nests in large suspended pear-shaped structures. Often over water, they resemble flood debris which they are often placed nearby. These nests are the preferred roosts of the Golden-tipped Bat (Phoniscus papuensis).


The Yellow-throated Scrubwren was originally described by ornithologist John Gould in 1838. The specific epithet citreogularis derived from the Latin terms c?treus "pertaining to citrus" and g?la "throat", hence "yellow throated". The northern subspecies cairnsii was described by amateur ornithologist Gregory Mathews in 1912.


The Yellow-throated Scrubwren measures 12.5-15 cm (5-6 in) in length. The male bird has a black masked face and ear coverts, with yellow throat and eyebrow. The iris is reddish and upperparts brownish and underparts paler. The wing primaries are yellow and relatively long legs pinkish or cream. The female has a brownish face. Calls include a loud harsh chatter, and a lively song, the latter can be a response to a loud noise such as a car door slamming.

Distribution and habitat

The species is found in two disjunct distributions; in coastal north Queensland from Cooktown to Townsville, and from Hervey Bay in southern coastal Queensland south through to southeastern New South Wales. The usual habitat is rainforest gullies, generally with streams nearby. In the Sydney Basin this may be the Illawarra escarpment, and wetter places in the Dharug- and Royal National Parks.

Insectivorous, they feed at ground level, unlike the related Large-billed Scrubwren (S. magnirostris) which lives in the same wet forest habitat but forages higher in the leaf layer and on branches.


Breeding season can extend from June to March, with two or more broods laid in a season. The nest is a large structure of long pieces of dried grasses and leaves, sticks, palm fibre, bark, and ferns and feathers for lining. Pear-shaped, it hangs above the ground or water, suspended from a vine or branch. It may be mistaken for flood debris and is often constructed near it. A clutch of two or three tapered oval 26 x 18 mm eggs is laid; they vary from brownish-purple to pale brownish-white with darker spots or blotches. There is a cap of darker colour at the large end of the eggs.

The nest may be expanded in subsequent years by the birds adding an extra chamber onto it. They also appear to be the preferred daytime roosting sites of the Golden-tipped Bat (Phoniscus papuensis).

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2004). Sericornis citreogularis. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 6 June 2007. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern.
  2. ^ Gould, J. (1838). A Synopsis of the Birds of Australia, and the Adjacent Islands. London: J. Gould
  3. ^ Simpson, D.P. (1979). Cassell's Latin Dictionary (5 ed.). London: Cassell Ltd.. pp. 883. ISBN 0-304-52257-0. 
  4. ^ Mathews GM. (1912). A Reference-List to the Birds of Australia. Novit. Zool. 18: 171-455
  5. ^ Simpson K, Day N, Trusler P (1993). Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Ringwood, Victoria: Viking O'Neil. pp. p. 212. ISBN 0-670-90478-3. 
  6. ^ a b c d Roberts, Peter (1993). Birdwatcher's Guide to the Sydney Region. Kenthurst, New South Wales: Kangaroo Press. pp. p. 132-33. ISBN 0-86417-565-5. 
  7. ^ a b Beruldsen, G (2003). Australian Birds: Their Nests and Eggs. Kenmore Hills, Qld: self. pp. p. 295. ISBN 0-646-42798-9. 
  8. ^ Schulz M (2000). "(abstract) Roosts used by the golden-tipped bat Kerivoula papuensis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae)" (PDF). Journal of Zoology 250: 467"?78. doi:10.1017/S0952836900004052. (abstract). Retrieved on 2008-01-10. 


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