Eastern Spinebill - Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris

Eastern Spinebill

Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris

Family: Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters, 74 species in Australia)
Size: 13-16 cm
Distribution: Within about 300 km of the coasts of NSW, VIC, Southern QLD and a tiny part of Southeast SA, all of TAS
Status: Common
Habitat: Heaths, forests with heaths; shrubby gardens
References: Simpson and Day, Reader's Digest

The Eastern Spinebill is an extremely common bird in gardens in the Blue Mountains. It has a distinctive call which sounds a bit like "sawing" (it makes sense when you hear it), and a more common call which is a series of "bip bip bip bip bip bip bip bip bip" notes, very fast and all the same.

The Eastern Spinebill never stays in the one place very long, and it buries itself inside the flowery bushes that it eats from so it is harder to get a good photo than it should be for such a common bird.

Eastern Spinebill - Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris
Photo: Blaxland, Blue Mountains NSW

Eastern Spinebill - Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris
Photo: Blaxland, Blue Mountains NSW

Eastern Spinebill - Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris
Photo: Blaxland, Blue Mountains NSW

Eastern Spinebill - Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris
Artwork: John Gould, 'The Birds of Australia', 1848. Original Scanned Image.

Some Birdwatching Resources


The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight. This is the other of the two best bird field guides for Australia. It is the one preferred by many serious birdwatchers. However I find the pictures a bit dull looking for my taste — the birds all kind of look the same to me, making it harder to remember them in my mind. The illustrations are meant to be the most anatomically correct, though. The text descriptions are better than in Simpson and Day. If you want the most serious bird field guide get this one otherwise get Simpson and Day.

Purchase 9th ed. from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase 9th ed. from Australia (Angus & Robertson)

Purchase 9th ed. from Australia (Dymocks)

Click here to purchase 9th ed. from Australia (The Nile)

Click here to purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

Click here to preorder the 9th ed. from Amazon


Finding Australian Birds A Field Guide to Birding Locations, by Tim Dolby and Rohan Clarke NEW: Finding Australian Birds A Field Guide to Birding Locations, by Tim Dolby and Rohan Clarke. From the eastern rainforests to central deserts, Australia is home to some 900 species of birds. This book covers over 400 Australian bird watching sites conveniently grouped into the best birding areas, from one end of the country to the other. This includes areas such as Kakadu in the Top End and rocky gorges in the central deserts of the Northern Territory, the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, rainforests distributed along the eastern Australian seaboard, some of the world's tallest forests in Tasmania, the Flinders Ranges and deserts along the iconic Strzelecki and Birdsville Tracks in South Australia, and the Mallee temperate woodlands and spectacular coastlines in both Victoria and south west Western Australia.

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

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Eastern Spinebill - Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris

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