Striated grasswren

Amytornis striatus

TAXONOMY

Amytornis striatus Gould, 1840, Liverpool Plains, New South Wales, Australia. Three subspecies.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Amytis strié; German: Streifengrasschlüpfer; Spanish: Ratona de la Hierba Rayada.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5.7-6.9 in (14.5-17.5 cm); male 0.56-0.78 oz (16-22 g). Sexes similar but female has chestnut flanks.

DISTRIBUTION

Widely scattered populations across Australia. A. s. rowleyi is confined to a small area of central Queensland, A. s. whitei is found in Western Australia. A. s. striatus has at least four disjunct populations from New South Wales to Western Australia.

HABITAT

Found on spinifex-covered sandplains and rocky hills, sometimes with shrubby vegetation, of the arid interior.

BEHAVIOR

Poor fliers; hop about with tail cocked over open ground, or with tail horizontal when moving through dense vegetation. They are found singly or in small family groups. Melodious song of trills and whistles.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forage mostly on the ground, taking insects, particularly ants and beetles, and seeds. They have been reported eating cactus flowers, and foraging by moonlight.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeding biology is virtually unknown for wild birds. Clutch is two or three red-spotted, white eggs. No helpers at the nest have been reported.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Adversely affected by clearing for agriculture, introduced herbivores, and overgrazing, as well as predation by introduced cats and foxes, and by extensive fires.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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