Animal Species:Crested Bellbird

The nests of Crested Bellbirds often have live, hairy caterpillars placed around the rim. It has been suggested that the adults gather them as a food storage for the sitting bird or as a defence for the nest.

Crested Bellbird

Crested Bellbird
Photographer: Purnell Collection © Purnell Collection

Standard Common Name

Crested Bellbird

Alternative Name/s

Bellbird, Crested Thrush, and 'Dick-Dick-the Devil'.


The Crested Bellbird is a medium-sized bird.

Adult males have grey heads with a raised black crest, a white forehead and throat, and a prominent black breast. The rest of the body is grey or brown and they have orange-red eyes.

Females and immature birds are less prominently coloured than the males, lacking the black breast and having a smaller, unraised black crest. 

Size range

19 cm to 23 cm

Similar Species

Wedge-bill, Western Whipbird


The Crested Bellbird is endemic to mainland Australia. It occurs west of the Great Dividing Range, in the south of tropical northern Australia, and through South Australia to the west coast of Western Australia.


The Crested Bellbird occurs from semi-arid coastlines to the arid Australia interior. They are found in acacia shrublands, eucalypt woodlands, spinifex and chenopod (saltbush) plains or dunes.


The Crested Bellbird is sedentary or locally nomadic in drier regions. 

Feeding and Diet

The Crested Bellbird feeds on invertebrates and some seeds. They forage on the ground or in low shrubs. They are usually solitary or occur in pairs during the breeding season. Sometimes they occur in mixed feeding flocks with Chestnut-rumped Thornbills and Red-capped Robins.


Loud, liquid call. Bell-like 'did-did did-did-dit'. The calls are sometimes ventriloqual.

Mating and reproduction

The Crested Bellbird forms pairs for the breeding season and makes a cup-shaped nest of twigs, bark or leaves, usually placed in the fork of a tree. Both sexes will incubate the eggs.

  • Breeding season: August to December
  • Clutch size: One to four
  • Incubation: 16 days
  • Time in nest: 12 days

Conservation Status

The range of the Crested Bellbird has contracted because of habitat destruction from land clearance, being particularly susceptible to fragmentation. Cats also pose a threat throughout its range. It is listed as threatened in Victoria.

Economic/social impacts





What does this mean?


  • Pizzey, G. and Knight, F. 1997. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
  • Morcombe, M. 2000. Field guide to Australian Birds. Steve Parish Publishing.
  • Higgins, P.J. and J.M. Peter (eds) 2002. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Volume 6: Pardalotes to Shrike-thrushes. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Last Updated:

Tags BIBY, bird, birds, Crested Bellbird, identification, vertebrates, Oreoica gutturalis, Passeriformes, Pachycephalidae, flycatchers,