Physical characteristics

Logrunners are stocky birds, with the chowchilla, the largest species, reaching a length of 12 in (30 cm); the other species are noticeably smaller (7.3-8.3 in; 18.5-21 cm). All have powerful legs and claws. The unspecialized bill is of

A female southern logrunner (Orthonyx temminckii) feeds in Lamington National Park, Australia. (Photo by R. Brown/Animals Animals. Reproduced by permission.)

moderate strength. Perhaps the most curious physical feature of these birds is the stiffened shafts of the 10 tail feathers, the tips of which protrude beyond the ends of the feathers as pliable spines. This led to the earlier name of "spine-tailed logrunner." While the chowchilla is simply colored with broad patches of unmarked black and white, and in one sex, orange, the other two species have much more complex patterns of brown, rufous, black, gray, and white. All three species have similar patterns of sexual dimorphism: males have white breasts, females orange ones.

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