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Shy Heathwren


The Shy Heathwren is found in woodland and mallee scrub. You will see them foraging in the leaf litter for grubs and any other food they might like.  Similar to the Chestnut Heathwren in some ways, the distinctive difference is the white spot on the wing of the Shy Heathwren.

The featured image is of a bird found in the Wedderburn area.  Despite their name suggesting they are “shy”, I have found them not so frightened as to stop what they are doing providing you are respectfully quiet.

Wikipedia Description

The Shy Heathwren (Hylacola cauta) is a species of small bird in the family Acanthizidae, endemic to Australia. They inhabit mostly mallee woodland that has relatively dense shrub and heath understorey. Shy heathwrens feed mostly on ground dwelling insects, and rarely on seeds. Their ground level nests are dome-shaped and usually concealed within grass tussocks or shrubs. Within the nest they typically lay 2–3 freckled and pinkish eggs.

The birds are cock-tailed with a chestnut rump that darkens towards the tip. Their feathers are white with brown streaking underneath and greyish-brown on the back and crown. They have a white eyebrow, tail tip and patch on the flight feathers, and a black bill. Their eyes are brown to yellowish-brown and legs are slate-brown. Females have slightly duller colouring, and immature birds are duller again with some of these being fawn-coloured underneath.They have a total length when adults of 12–14 centimetres (4.7–5.5 in).

They are uncommon residents across a wide part of southern Australia. Ranging from near West Wyalong in New South Wales to the Murchison River in Western Australia. In New South Wales, they are found in two isolated populations: one between Leeton, Willandra, New South Wales, Nymagee and West Wyalong; and the other from Balranald to Trentham Cliffs. Within the state they are seen as a threatened and vulnerable, largely due to human-wrought habitat loss, and predation by foxes and cats.


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