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


Field Guide to Australian Birds: Complete Compact Edition, by Michael Morcombe NEW: Field Guide to Australian Birds: Complete Compact Edition, by Michael Morcombe. Based on the above larger book. It's a while since I've seen this one. The publisher's commentary says that "This slimline, compact edition contains the same information on mainland and Tasmanian birds as his best-selling handbook, the Field Guide to Australian Birds. Features include plastic jacket, QuickFind system of colour tags and Quick Index ensure durability and ease of use in the field."

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase from Australia (Angus & Robertson)


Field Guide to Australian Birds, by Michael Morcombe NEW: Field Guide to Australian Birds, by Michael Morcombe. This one has colour drawings of the eggs and the nests which not many other field guides do (I can't think of any that do). It's an excellent field guide and one of the four main ones (the other three being above this one). The weakness of this field guide is that some of the pictures of the birds aren't as good (or accurate) as the other three most used field guides. It's also the heaviest though there is a pocket edition which is much smaller and lighter.

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase from Australia (Angus & Robertson)

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Eastern Spinebill - Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris

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