White-fronted chat

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White-fronted chat
Epthianura albifrons male - Orielton Lagoon.jpg
Epthianura albifrons - Orielton Lagoon.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Meliphagidae
Genus: Epthianura
E. albifrons
Binomial name
Epthianura albifrons
(Jardine & Selby, 1828)

Acanthiza albifrons Jardine & Selby
Fluvicola leucocephala Lesson
Cinura torquata Brehm

The white-fronted chat (Epthianura albifrons) is a species of bird in the honeyeater family Meliphagidae native to southern Australia. The male has a white face bordered by a black breast band. It is insectivorous.


Jardine and P.J.Selby described the white-fronted chat in 1828 as Acanthiza albifrons.[2] Lesson described it in 1844 as Fluvicola leucocephala, and Brehm as Cinura torquata in 1845.[2]

The species is monotypic; that is, no subspecies are recognised. Tasmanian birds were thought to have longer bills but this has not been borne out on further investigation.[3]

This species has collected many vernacular names: Gould called it white-fronted epthianura in 1848, a direct translation of its Latin name, while from its distinctive call were derived the names (banded) tintack, gar, and tang, and the males' resemblance to a nun's habit led to the name (white-fronted) nun, similarly baldyhead, baldy, ringneck and singlebar come from its appearance. The derivation of others, such as clipper and tripper, is unclear.[4]


Adult white-fronted chats are 11–13 cm in length and weigh 13 g. The male has a white face and breast bordered by a black band across the breast and back.[5] The upperparts are grey, and wings and tail are brown, and abdomen is white. The eyes are white, whereas the eyes of the female are brown. The female has brown upperparts and white underparts with a faint darker breast band.[6]

The call, a tang sound, has been likened to the twanging of a rubber band.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is endemic to Australia, being found across southern Australia (including Tasmania) from Shark Bay in Western Australia around to the Queensland/New South Wales border.[5] The white-fronted chat has been listed as vulnerable in New South Wales,[7] and threatened in the Adelaide-Mount Lofty region of South Australia, where it has become much rarer,[8] though is listed globally as least concern.[1] It is generally sedentary, though may be nomadic in more arid parts of its range.[5]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Epthianura albifrons". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (30 August 2011). "Species Epthianura (Epthianura) albifrons (Jardine & Selby, 1828)". Australian Biological Resources Study: Australian Faunal Directory. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 1 April 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Schodde, Richard; Mason, Ian J. (1999). The Directory of Australian Birds: Passerines. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing. ISBN 978-0-643-06456-0. OCLC 499953986.
  4. ^ Fraser, Ian; Gray, Jeannie (2013). Australian Bird Names; a complete guide. CSIRO Publishing. p. 208. ISBN 9780643104693.
  5. ^ a b c d "White-fronted Chat". Birds in Backyards. Birdlife Australia. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  6. ^ Slater, Peter (1974). A Field Guide to Australian Birds:Non-passerines. Adelaide: Rigby. p. 199. ISBN 0-85179-813-6.
  7. ^ Major, Richard (28 February 2011). "White-fronted Chat Epthianura albifrons (Jardine & Selby, 1828) - vulnerable species listing". NSW Scientific Committee - Determinations. NSW Govt Office of Environment and Heritage. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  8. ^ Biodiversity Conservation Unit; Adelaide Region (May 2008). "Epthianura albifrons" (PDF). Threatened Species - Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges. Department for Conservation and Heritage, SA Government. Retrieved 3 April 2014.