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


Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds, Peter Slater, Pat Slater and Raoul Slater Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds, Peter Slater, Pat Slater and Raoul Slater. This is a smaller field guide, and its advantage is it is easy to carry around. Its size is 21.3 x 11.4 x 2.8 centimetres, or 8.4 x 4.5 x 1.1 inches in the old scale. So it is a good one to get if you want to have your field guide with you out in the field. Unlike most of the field guides it also has illustrations of the eggs of all the birds that breed in Australia. It has very good reviews on Amazon.

Click here to Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase from Australia (Angus & Robertson)

Click here to purchase from Australia (The Nile) $28.45 AUD (May be unavailable)

Click here to purchase from Australia (Fishpond) May be expensive.

Click here to purchase from Amazon


Birdsong, Don Stap Birdsong, Don Stap. From the promotional material: "Following one of the world's experts on birdsong from the woods of Martha's Vineyard to the tropical forests of Central America, Don Stap brings to life the quest to unravel an ancient mystery: Why do birds sing and what do their songs mean? We quickly discover that one question leads to another. Why does the chestnut-sided warbler sing one song before dawn and another after sunrise? Why does the brown thrasher have a repertoire of two thousand songs when the chipping sparrow has only one? And how is the hermit thrush able to sing a duet with itself, producing two sounds simultaneously to create its beautiful, flutelike melody?"

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Click here to purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

Click here to purchase from Wilderness Awareness School $24.00 USD (May not work)

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Eastern Spinebill - Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris

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