The Eastern Bristlebird is one of only three species representing an entire avian family, the Dasyornithidae.
This family diverged from its closest relatives 15.1 million years ago. These birds are mainly terrestrial where they spend their time in dense undergrowth where it hunts and forages for food. The bird will pluck food from branches or foliage, and has been observed catching flying insects. There are two subspecies of the Eastern bristlebird, one occurring in the northern part of the species’ range in eastern Australia and one in the south. Frequent and extensive wildfires are the main threat to the southern stronghold populations as they destroy the dense vegetation on which the species relies. Over the last few decades, extensive fires have seen the loss of southern subspecies from several key localities. The northern populations rely on regular fires to ensure vegetation does not become too dense. The habitat is also degraded by feral pigs and domestic livestock. Other threats to the species include overgrazing, invasion of habitat by exotic weeds and predation by foxes. The northern population has been the focus of extensive conservation actions. Fences and firebreaks have been constructed. Research into preferred fire regimes was completed in 2016 and results indicated a requirement for a frequent fire regime with fires every 3-6 years. Integrated fire and weed management is being implemented on key New South Wales sites.
- Order: Passeriformes
- Family: Dasyornithidae
- Population: 3800
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 18-22cm
This species is found in Australia found in south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales and Eastern Victoria.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is often found in open woodland, adjacent to rainforest. Preferred habitats tend to be dominated by a Eucalyptus canopy with a dense ground cover. This species feeds predominantly on invertebrates, usually ants, beetles, cockroaches, orthopteran and caterpillars. Individuals also eat a large number of seeds and fruits.