Stipiturus malachurus Shaw, 1798, Sydney and Botany Bay, New South Wales, Australia. Eight subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Queue-de-gaze du Sud; German: Rotstirn- Bortenschwanz; Spanish: Ratona Emu Sureсa.
6.2–7 in (15.7–17.8 cm); female 0.26–0.29 oz (7.4–8.3 g), male 0.19–0.32 oz (5.5–9 g). Males in breeding plumage have blue throat and breast that females, nonbreeding males, and immatures lack.
Disjunct populations along coast from western Australia to southern Queensland. S. m. malachurus: from Queensland to Victoria; S. m. littleri: confined to Tasmania and islands; S. m. polionotum: from Victoria and south Australia; S. m. intermedius, S. m. halmaturnius, S. m. parimedia: local
in south Australia; S. m. westernensis: in southwestern Western Australia; and S. m. hartogi: found on Dirk Hartog Island, Shark Bay, Western Australia.
Occurs in swamps, dunes, and coastal and high-altitude heathlands. Prefers low, dense vegetation.
Usually found in small groups; secretive; weak flier and difficult to flush. Social organization poorly known.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feeding ecology poorly known, but thought to be largely insectivorous, gleaning invertebrates from dense vegetation and ground. Will split open stems to get at insects; occasionally hawks flying insects.
Monogamous pairs hold breeding territory; female builds nest but fed by male. Clutch is 2–4 red-spotted eggs. Nest parasitized by several cuckoo species. Incubation mostly by female for 13–14 days; fledging in 11–15 days.
Not threatened as a species but adversely affected by drainage of swamps and clearing for agriculture. Altered fire regimes also a threat.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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