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Yellow Thornbill

The Yellow Thornbill is August's bird of the month


Yellow Thornbill


Acanthiza nana


The Yellow Thornbill is a tiny resident of Centennial Park. It is an arboreal species, spending its time flitting busily through the foliage of trees, especially, in the park, Casuarinas and Melaleucas. It is one of twelve species of Thornbills found throughout Australia. They are small, brownish birds which are difficult to tell apart from each other. To Birders, it is one of the “Little Brown Jobs”.

Its upper parts are brownish-olive green, with darker flight feathers along the edge and ends of the wing. The cheeks and ear are streaked with white, while above and below the tiny thorn-shaped bill the head, chin and throat have a buff-brown wash which fades into the yellow underparts. There is no obvious difference between males and females, and young Thornbills are duller in colour. The yellow underparts and lack of markings on the head distinguish it from the other species of Thornbill.


The Yellow Thornbill is found from a little north of central Queensland, extending out to the central west of Queensland, across New South Wales and Victoria to south-eastern South Australia. They can be found in the forest, open woodlands or scrubland. Particularly those with Casuarinas, Acacias, native pines or Melaleucas. They have managed to maintain a presence in urban parks and gardens and although they are found throughout the eastern suburbs they are scattered and seldom seen in groups of more than a half dozen.

Located in the Parklands:

While up to the 1990’s the Yellow Thornbill was reported as a common breeding resident in the Parklands, it is now less commonly seen and appears to have become restricted in habitat. This is perhaps due to competition from larger and more aggressive bird species becoming more common in the Parklands. Although the Yellow Thorbills are not as common they're most regularly sighted around the edges of the Mission Fields and the Equestrian Grounds. 

This information was curated by a team of passionate Centennial Parklands volunteers and with the assistance of Volunteer Program and Asset staff. Find out more about our volunteer programs here.