Eastern Bristlebird (34)
|Today I present an extremely rare bird, an Eastern Bristlebird (Dasyornis brachypterus). There are three species of bristlebird in Australia and all three are very localised in their distribution and each species having a total population of probably less than 1,000 individuals.|
The Eastern Bristlebird lives in a very specialised habitat dominated by open woodland with a very dense heath-like understorey. Additionally, this habitat needs to be adjacent to open heathland which the birds venture into during the day to forage for insects. There are only a few such places in eastern Australia and although they are all now protected in national parks, the biggest threat in from wildfires destroying the entire available habitat in a single fire event.
Bristlebirds are characterised by four stiff bristle-like feathers at the base of the bill. You can clearly see this feature in the WORKSHOP image. The purpose of the “bristles” is unknown.
They are a very secretive species, rarely leaving the dense understorey where photography is impossible. Even though I live near Budderoo National Park (where this shot was taken), and I have seen them many times over the years, this was only the second occasion I’ve managed to get a shot in 30 years. So, perhaps its not a prize winning result, but I’m very happy with this image in particular.
The Eastern Bristlebird is 22 cm in length and breed from August to November.