Immature Chestnut-rumped Heathwrens?

Subject: Immature Chestnut-rumped Heathwrens?
From: Helen Stevens <>
Date: Sun, 8 Jul 2001 11:57:24 +1000
I would like opinions on the identity of a pair of birds seen in the Pilliga Forest, NW NSW (approx 31 deg S and 149 deg E) in October 2000. These birds were seen by 3 experienced birdwatchers, but often just fleetingly.

The 2 birds were on or near the ground, and in and around thick vegetation in a dry creekbed.

Length 15-17 cm including tail, which was cocked. The most striking feature of the birds was the cocked tail, which widened towards the end, and had a prominent rufous band at the base of the dark brown tail. There was a slightly darker sub-terminal band on the tail.

The dorsal surface was plain dark brown (like the tail), with wings slightly darker than the body.

The chest was rufous-brown streaked darker brown (streaking indistinct). The abdomen was off-white (pale buff).

The bill and legs were dark. The bill was medium length and straight.

There was no eyebrow.

The contact call was a very quiet "tzit-tzit-tzit" of medium-high pitch. Another call heard was a "chap-chap-chap" call.

Although the birds did not look like immatures, our only reasonable guess is that they were immature Chestnut-rumped Heathwrens. However, none of the various field guides depict the immatures of this species, so we were at a loss to identify these secretive birds.

Any suggestions?


Helen Stevens
Helen Stevens
Tibuc Road
Coonabarabran  NSW 2357

Ph:  (02) 6842 2350
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