Dusky Grasswren

Dusky Grasswren standing on clump of dirt and dead leaves

Scientific Name: Amytornis purnelli

Size: 15.5 to 18 cm

What does it look and sound like?

The Dusky Grasswren is cryptically-coloured with dull reddish-brown upperparts and greyish underparts, both sexes with white streaks around the head, upper back and upper breast, but the female can often be distinguished from the male by a small rufous patch on the flanks. The species was formerly grouped with the Kalkadoon Grasswren A. ballarae, which is found further north and has more prominent white streaking, richer reddish upperparts and greyer underparts. It is generally heard before it is seen, with its short trills, drawn out ‘tseee’ and ‘tchik-tchik-tchik’ alarm call. 

Where is it found?

Central Australia. 

What are its habitats & habits?

The Dusky Grasswren is an inhabitant of rocky, spinifex-clad ranges (generally in the vicinity of open woodland) of central Australia, this small grasswren can be seen bouncing and scurrying, mouse-like, along the ground amongst the spinifex tussocks, stopping to feed on small seeds, fruits and some invertebrates. It is usually observed in small groups. 

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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