Habitat Ecology Information

What’s Lurking In Your Backyard? – #42 White-browed Scrubwren

This series looks at the variety of fauna that may be found in the suburban backyard or local reserve and the diversity may be surprising to some people. The obvious fauna are the vast array of birds that are readily seen by day and some by night, but there are numerous species that are nocturnal. Some of these nocturnal species people are familiar with as they tramp across the roof at night with what sounds like hobnail boots on, or they hear fighting in the backyard over food and territory. Others are cryptic and may only be seen infrequently when they enter the house for warmth and shelter. Each week or so I will highlight a different species that may be found in and around Melbourne’s  backyards, parks and reserves, some may be familiar others less so.

#42 White-browed Scrubwren

(Sericornis frontalis)

This small little bird has been described as drab due to its lack of any significant colouring. What it lacks in colour it makes up for in its enthusiatic, inquisitive and alert behaviour. This little bird can be seen flitting through the undergrowth, darting in and out of shrubs to feed in the open and to harass intruders. They may be found sitting sideways on the trunks of trees as they search out their food sources which consist of small insects and arthropods as well as the occasional seed.

This is a small sized bird a little larger than the Superb Fairy Wren (see Whats Lurking In Your Backyard #35). Colouring is predominately olive-grey above with the throat being a buff grey colour. Above and below the eye they have a white line which gives them their charcteristic name. Between the two white lines and around the eye is black. The male and females are similar but htere are some variations across the various habitat types. They can be found across a wide varierty of habitat types including rainforest, heaths, woodlands and open forest.

These birds are usually found in pairs and inhabit the lower thick vegetation of the environment they are located in. Nest consist of a ball of grass and other plant material, with an entry tunnel located on the side. The internal cup shaped nest is lined with feaethers. Nests are generally located in thick vegetation close to the ground and can be hard to locate. Clutch size is around 2-3 eggs with eggs being a pale blue to pale purple in colour with a spotted brown base.

Conservation Status in Victoria: “Secure”

Habitat Ecology 2021

References:

Birds in Backyards: https://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Sericornis-frontalis

Birdlife Australia: https://birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/White-browed-Scrubwren