Southern scrub robin

Drymodes brunneopygia

SUBFAMILY

Drymodinae

TAXONOMY

Drymodes brunneopygia Gould, 1841, Murray River, South Australia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Drymode a croupion brun; German: MalleeScheindrossel; Spanish: Tordo de Lomo Castaño.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

8-9 in (21-23 cm); 1.25-1.35 oz (36-38 g). A large bird with white to buff underparts, dark brown wing and light gray-brown upperparts with white-tipped tail.

DISTRIBUTION

Southwestern Australia, south-central Australia into western Victoria and southwestern New South Wales.

HABITAT

Mallee, especially with broombush (Melaleuca) or heathy un-derstory; other semiarid scrub; coastal tea tree thickets.

BEHAVIOR

Shy and often hidden, heard more often than seen. Territorial year-round. Flicks or gently raises and lowers tail. Call is a thin "pee...pee" or a musical "chip...chip...par-ee."

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages entirely on the ground, gleaning insects, especially ants, termites, and beetles; occasionally picks fruit from low shrubs.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeds from July to December, building a cup-shaped nest that is placed on or near ground. Clutch is comprised of one pale green egg, blotched with brown and black. Female builds nest and incubates the egg for 16 days. Both sexes feed the young bird, which fledges at nine to 12 days. Nest success was 64% in Western Australia study. Male whistles and draws predators away from the nest.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Common in suitable habitat but has declined due to extensive clearing of mallee for agriculture.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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