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)

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


Field Guide to Australian Birds: Complete Compact Edition, by Michael Morcombe 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)

See Also

Australian Bird Field Guides

Return to Australian Birds
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