King Island Brown Thornbill
Acanthiza pusilla magnirostris
The King Island subspecies of the Brown Thornbill is only found on King Island, in Bass Strait. It is very small, less than 12 cm in length and weighing about 7 grams. Much of King Island has been cleared for agricultural purposes, greatly reducing the availability of natural habitat for this little bird.
The King Island Brown Thornbill builds a domed nest consisting of shredded bark, grass and moss, usually near the ground. It is thought to feed on invertebrates under loose and hanging bark as well as foraging in shrub foliage down to ground level.
- Land clearing for grazing.
- Increased fire frequency causing degradation of habitat.
- Predation by cats.
- Loss of genetic diversity with very small population size.
- Work with private landholders to ensure all remaining habitat is retained.
- Ensure fire management and emergency response accommodates thornbill requirements.
- Restore isolated remnant vegetation patches, build corridors to link populations.
- Targeted control of feral cats around habitat patches where King Island Brown Thornbills persist, alongside community education about responsible cat ownership for domestic and farm cats.
- Clarify genetic diversity and risk of inbreeding.
Protecting threatened species
We will be updating these Threatened Species Action Plan profiles to include:
- projects to support species recovery
- information on their trajectory.
Please check back for updates.
Read our Threatened Species Action Plan 2022-2032.
Further information on this species, including links to conservation planning documents can be found here: Species Profile and Threats database - King Island Brown Thornbill
The key threats and priority actions come from conservation planning documents and the Action Plan for Australian Birds 2020. We have made some adjustments based on new information. It is not a list of all plausible threats and relevant actions, but a subset of each that are likely to have the largest impact on populations.