Southern emuwren

Southern emuwren
Stipiturus malachurus

Photo by C. Tzaros (Birds in Backyards)

Common name:
southern emuwren (en);  carriça-australiana-meridional (pt); queue-de-gaze du sud (fr); maluro meridional (es); rotstirn-borstenschwanz (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Maluridae

This species is endemic to Australia, being found along the southern coasts of the country from southern Queensland to south-eastern South Australia and in south-western Western Australia. It is also present in Tasmania.

These birds are 16-20 cm long, including the 10-11 cm long tail. They weigh 7-8 g.

The southern emuwren is mostly found in freshwater swamps with heaths, reeds and sedges, and in dry scrublands such as coastal heathland, but they also use deserts and rocky areas.

They glean insects and spiders from the foliage, namely bugs, katydids, beetles, wasps, flies, ants, mantids and caterpillars. They are also known to take some vegetable matter including seeds

Southern emuwrens are socially monogamous and breed in August-March. The female builds the nest alone, consisting of an oval-shaped dome made of grasses and spider webs and lined with feathers. It is placed near the ground in a grass tussock or among dense scrubs. The female lays 2-4 eggs which she mainly incubates alone for about 12 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 8-11 days after hatching, but continue to rely on the parents for food for another 2-5 months. Each pair raises 1-2 broods per season and the young reach sexual maturity within their first year.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is reported to be uncommon. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation, mainly through clearance for agriculture and construction of dams for water storage. Wildfires and the introduction of exotic predator and parasites may pose further threats to this species.

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