2 new grasswrens to chase!

To: martin cachard <>
Subject: 2 new grasswrens to chase!
From: Phil Gregory <>
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2020 15:10:34 +1000
This was the proposed 4-way split FYI: Pilbara Grasswren, Amytornis whitei, Sandhill Grasswren, Amytornis oweni, and Rusty Grasswren, Amytornis rowleyi, have been split from Striated Grasswren, Amytornis striatus, based on Christidis et al. (2013) 

Here is the now adopted 3-way version plus two new subspecies:
Andrew B. Black, Christopher A. Wilson, Lynn P. Pedler, Scott R. McGregor, Leo Joseph. Two new but threatened subspecies of Rufous Grasswren Amytornis whitei (Maluridae). Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 140(2):151-163 (2020).


Rufous Grasswren Amytornis whitei is the most widely distributed of three species formerly included within the Striated Grasswren A. striatus complex. Included among four phenotypically, geographically and ecologically distinct populations are A. w. whitei of the Pilbara ironstone ranges of Western Australia and A. w. oweni of inland sandy deserts. The other two are the little-known small-billed isolate of the limestone plateau of the Cape Range, North West Cape Peninsula, Western Australia, and a larger form present in the mallee of the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. We present morphometric and other data and describe these two populations as new subspecies; both are of conservation concern.

I recently read an excellent article about the mysterious Dusky-type grasswren, complete with the photo, but am now trying to locate it. will advise when I find it.

Phil Gregory
ornithological writer/tour leader/tour facilitator
Field Guides / Sicklebill Safaris / Cassowary Tours
PO Box 597
QLD 4885

Ph: +61 7 4096 8063 

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On 21 Jul 2020, at 2:25 PM, martin cachard <> wrote:

Thanks Phil – do you have any idea as to the location for the Dusky-type?? I’ve read somewhere that Pinnacle Ck was the spot but I can’t find it anywhere…grrrr!!
Martin Cachard
Cairns, FNQ
No developments on that mysterious Dusky-type grasswren with pale tail tips, I believe there have been some sort of searches but nothing really full-on, at a logistically difficult and remote site.
IOC adopted the tripartite split of Striated Grasswren into Rufous and Opalton (Rusty under the older scheme) as well, originally proposed as 4-way one which they did not adopt, but the less radical 3-way version makes good sense.
Happily I was able to see them all before the current troubles…..
Thanks for that update Dave – I thought this was about to happen…
Whilst on the subject of grasswrens, does anyone know anything much about the Dusky-types that were found up in the Kimberleys late last century?? All I’m aware of is that the location was Pinnacle Ck (wherever that is??!!) and that the birds looked similar to Dusky GW…
Any news of this would be very welcome , thanks…
Martin Cachard
Cairns, FNQ
Not an option for those of us in Melbourne. IOC 10.2 has done some splitting to create the Opalton and Rufous Grasswrens!

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