Striated and Yellow Thornbills

To: "Birding-aus (E-mail)" <>
Subject: Striated and Yellow Thornbills
From: Lawrie Conole <>
Date: Thu, 05 May 2005 10:16:59 +1000
m("","Steve.Clark");"> wrote:

As we have just seen, these species can be difficult to separate in the field - especially if you don't know their calls.  I reckon many Yellow Thornbill records are really Striated Thornbills (or even Buff-rumped Thornbills).

I've only seen Yellow Thornbills on a handful of occasions in Victoria.  My sightings database goes back to 1985 and I have only 7 records of YTs but 125 of STs.

I'd be interested in the comments and experiences of others.

Hi Steve

In my experience people often have trouble separating Yellow Thornbill from Weebill in the field - both yellow (in this part of the Weebill's range), and both buzz away cheerfully - with Weebills occasionally putting in their whistled "wee-willy-wee-bill" calls.

Yellow Thornbills are more commonly associated with more open woodland habitats than Striated around Geelong (southern Victoria) for example; and often occur only where there are bipinnate wattles such as Silver (Acacia dealbata) or Black Wattle (A. mearnsii), in which they forage - though in urban parks they are often in a range of exotic trees.  Yellow Thornbills commonly occur in roadside Black Wattles out on the volcanic plains from Geelong - in otherwise unforested areas.  In more densely forested areas I seldom come across Yellows - more often Striated - but obviously this is a rule of thumb rather than a hard & fast thing ... I have found Yellows in Silver Wattle in the Otway Ranges in a few spots.

My database (since 1979) includes (for Victoria) 179 Yellow Thornbill records and 394 Striated Thornbill records (1:2.2 - compared to Steve's 1:17.8).

Given my performance on the recent screen-based test; you can disregard this altogether if you like!


Lawrie Conole
Senior Ecologist
Ornithology & Terrestrial Ecology

Ecology Australia Pty. Ltd.
Flora and Fauna Consultants
88B Station Street
FAIRFIELD VIC 3078 Australia
E-mail: m("","lconole");">
Ph: (03) 9489 4191; Mob: (0419) 588 993
Fax: (03) 9481 7679
ABN 83 006 757 142

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