Speckled Warbler Click to enlarge image
Speckled Warbler Image: Duncan McCaskill
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Fast Facts

  • NSW Conservation Status
    Vulnerable species
  • Classification
    Species
    sagittata
    Genus
    Chthonicola
    Family
    Pardalotidae
    Order
    Passeriformes
    Class
    Aves
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    11 cm to 12 cm

The eggs of the Speckled Warbler are a glossy red-brown, leading to unusual local names such as 'Chocolate Bird' and 'Blood Tit'.

Identification

The crown of the Speckled Warbler is black with buff streaks. Between the crown and the white eyebrow is a line that is black in the males and chestnut in the females, the only difference between the two. The dark red eye is prominent in the pale face. The back is mottled dark brown but the underparts are cream with bold black streaks. When it flies, its tail shows a black band with a white tip.

Habitat

The Speckled Warbler lives in dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands (woodlands have fewer trees than forests) dominated by eucalypts. It is mostly seen on the grassy ground layer, when it is foraging.

Distribution

The Speckled Warbler is patchily distributed on and inland of the Great Dividing Range, from level with Mackay in Qld, to the Grampians National Park in Victoria.



Seasonality

The Speckled Warbler is sedentary.

Feeding and diet

The Speckled Warbler feeds on the ground, probing the leaf litter for insects. It will also eat seeds. It feeds in pairs or small parties up to six in number. Occasionally it is seen in mixed feeding flocks with several types of thornbills.

Communication

The call of the Speckled Warbler has been described as a soft musucal whistle that is 'sweet, cheerful and pleasing'. It is a good mimic, including parts of the calls of other birds. It also has a rasping, scolding call.

Breeding behaviours

The Speckled Warbler breeds either in pairs or trios of one female and two males, although the second male does not help at the nest. The group defends a territory and the pair bond usually lasts several years. Sometimes several family groups form small flocks over the winter.

  • Breeding Season: The Speckled Warbler has been seen breeding in every month except May, however there is a peak in breeding during September and November
  • Clutch size: 2 to 4, usually 3.
  • Incubation: 17 days
  • Time in nest: 19 days

Conservation status

Humans have cleared much of the habitat of these birds, and such clearing is on-going. The small fragments of habitat that remain can lose their populations of Speckled Warblers, leading to local extinctions. It is classified as 'vulnerable' in New South Wales.

References

  • Pizzey, G. and Knight, F. 1997. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
  • 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.
  • DEC, NSW Threatened Species - Speckled Warbler