Striated thornbill

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Striated thornbill
Acanthiza lineata - Captain's Flat.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Acanthizidae
Genus: Acanthiza
Species: A. lineata
Binomial name
Acanthiza lineata
Gould, 1838
Striated Thornbill.png
Distribution in southeast Australia

The striated thornbill (Acanthiza lineata) is a species of bird in the family Acanthizidae. It is endemic to Australia, where its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests.

Taxonomy[edit]

John Gould described the striated thornbill in 1838, giving it the common name of striated acanthiza.[2] Alternative common names include striped-crowned thornbill or tit-warbler, striated tit-warbler or tit, and green thornbill.[3]

The striated thornbill still bears its original name.[4]

A 2017 genetic study using both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA found that the ancestor of the striated thornbill diverged from that of the yellow thornbill around 6 million years ago.[5]

Four subspecies are recognised.[6]

  • A. lineata alberti is found in southeast Queensland and is paler and more yellowish overall than the nominate subspecies. It has a bright orange-brown cap with prominent white streaks, and a yellow-olive back. There is a broad zone of intermediate birds stretching from Tenterfield south to Port Macquarie on the coast and Tamworth inland.[6]
  • A. lineata lineata is found across New South Wales and Victoria, with a zone between the Grampians and Warrnambool, and the South Australian border where intermediate forms between this and clelandii are found.[6]
  • A. lineata clelandii is smaller and paler than the nominate subspecies, though has a more greyish back. It is found in southeastern South Australia to Adelaide.[6]
  • A. lineata whitei is smaller and darker than the nominate subspecies, with an overall greyish cast. It is found on Kangaroo Island.[6]

Description[edit]

The adult striated thornbill is 9–10 centimetres (3.5–3.9 in) long and weighs around 7 grams (0.25 oz).[7] It has a russet- or orange-brown crown with cream streaks, dull yellow-olive upperparts, olive-grey flanks, and cream underparts heavily streaked with black.[6]

The brown thornbill (A. pusilla) is similar but lacks the white-streaked orange-brown cap and lives in shrubs.[7]

Feeding[edit]

The striated thornbill is predominantly insectivorous, generally forages in the canopy of eucalypt trees, gleaning leaves for prey. It often hangs upside-down while foraging.[8] The striated thornbill also visits and feeds on extra-floral nectaries on the leaves of sunshine wattle (Acacia terminalis), helping pollinate the plant as it brushes against flower heads while feeding.[9]

Breeding[edit]

Striated thornbills form flocks of 7–20 birds outside of breeding season from late summer to winter, before breaking up into groups of 2–4, composed of a breeding pair plus helper birds.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Acanthiza lineata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T22704656A93979528. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22704656A93979528.en. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  2. ^ Gould, John (1865). Handbook to The birds of Australia, Volume 1. self. p. 372. 
  3. ^ Gray, Jeannie; Fraser, Ian (2013). Australian Bird Names: A Complete Guide. Collingwood, Victoria: Csiro Publishing. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-643-10471-6. 
  4. ^ Australian Biological Resources Study (4 December 2014). "Subspecies Acanthiza (Subacanthiza) lineata lineata Gould, 1838". Australian Faunal Directory. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Australian Government. Retrieved 5 February 2017. 
  5. ^ Marki, Petter Z.; Jønsson, Knud A., Irestedt, Martin; Nguyen, Jacqueline M.T.; Rahbek, Carsten; Fjeldså, Jon (2017). "Supermatrix phylogeny and biogeography of the Australasian Meliphagides radiation (Aves: Passeriformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 107: 516–29. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.12.021. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Schodde, Richard; Mason, Ian J. (1999). Directory of Australian Birds: Passerines: Passerines. pp. 216–18. 
  7. ^ a b "Striated thornbill". Birds in Backyards. Birdlife Australia. Retrieved 5 February 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Bell, Harry L.; Ford, Hugh A. (1986). "A Comparison of the Social Organization of Three Syntopic Species of Australian Thornbill, Acanthiza" (PDF). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 19 (6): 381–92. JSTOR 4599974. 
  9. ^ Knox, R.B.; Kenrick, J.; Bernhardt, P.; Marginson, R; Beresford, G.; Baker, I.; Baker, H.G. (1985). "Extrafloral nectaries as adaptations for bird pollination in Acacia terminalis". American Journal of Botany. 72 (8): 1185–96. JSTOR 2443398.