Birda Logo
Features
Birda+
About
Species Guide
Challenges
Shop
loading...

Grey Grasswren

Amytornis barbatus

The Grey Grasswren, known scientifically as Amytornis barbatus, is a small, elusive passerine bird that graces the arid inland floodplains of Australia with its presence. This bird, which was first sighted in 1921 and described in 1968, is distinguished by its greyish plumage with ginger-brown tones and very long tail, setting it apart from its grasswren relatives.

Identification Tips

Adult Grey Grasswrens measure between 18 and 20 cm in length, with a wingspan of approximately 21 cm and a weight ranging from 15 to 23 grams. Their plumage is a blend of ginger-brown, grey, and off-white striations. A striking facial pattern features a broad white superciliary stripe and a black stripe extending from the lores through the eyes, connecting to a thin black malar line around the sides of the throat. The central tail feathers are notably elongated, extending beyond the adjacent pair. Juveniles are duller in coloration and lack the distinct facial pattern of adults.

Habitat

Grey Grasswrens are found in specific habitats within the arid inland floodplains, favoring areas dominated by lignum and cane grass on major drainage lines between resident sand dunes. They also inhabit swampy areas with a dense understory of spike-rush, channel millet, and sedges, and can occasionally be found in open vegetative areas less prone to flooding.

Distribution

This species is endemic to Australia, with sightings recorded at the Bulloo Overflow on the New South Wales/Queensland border, lower Cooper Creek, along the Kallakoopah anabranch of the Diamantina River, and the overflow areas of lakes Machattie, Koolivoo, and Mipea on Eyre Creek in South Australia.

Behaviour

The Grey Grasswren is a cryptic bird that may exhibit nomadic tendencies, particularly in response to environmental conditions such as drought and flooding. It has been observed to seek refuge in tall dense lignum during drought years, while preferring other habitats in normal years.

Song & Calls

The vocal repertoire of the Grey Grasswren includes a soft double-syllable note, described as a persistent tweet. Other calls consist of a series of three or four high-pitched metallic notes, reminiscent of a 'pit-choo' sound, and a high-pitched 'sit-sit-sit'.

Breeding

Breeding behavior is not well-documented, but it is believed that the Grey Grasswren breeds in July or August, typically after flooding or heavy rain. The semi-domed nest is constructed within lignum or cane grass, and clutch size is thought to be two eggs, which exhibit considerable color variation. Incubation is carried out solely by the female, lasting approximately 13 to 15 days, with both parents involved in feeding the hatchlings.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Grey Grasswren primarily consists of small seeds, as indicated by the shape of its beak and gut content analysis. This diet is supplemented by insect larvae, mature insects, and occasionally water snails.

Conservation status

The Grey Grasswren is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. However, it is considered threatened under various Australian conservation acts due to habitat degradation, predation, and the potential impacts of climate change.

Future management

Conservation efforts for the Grey Grasswren are focused on protecting its specific habitat from degradation and managing threats such as overgrazing, predation, and invasive weeds. The effects of climate change on its habitat also warrant further research and consideration.

New conservation area

In a significant move to protect the Grey Grasswren, the Government of New South Wales acquired Narriearra station, which encompasses nearly 90 percent of the species' habitat. This acquisition forms part of a nearly contiguous conservation area, providing a substantial refuge for this and other species.

App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

More Australasian Wrens

A photo of a Purple-backed Fairywren (Malurus assimilis) , male

Purple-backed Fairywren

Malurus assimilis
Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Talli A
My favourite app
As a young birdwatcher who was always keen to be apart of a community but never seemed to find one, my problem was solved downloading this!!! Everyone is so friendly and just as excited to see birds as me 😁
Madstherangers
A mordern game changer
Birda is an awesome app, its updated the world of birding to the modern day with a fun and easy to use app. It’s engaging and allows positive interaction with fellow bird lovers!
Sacha0508
Simply fantastic
I love this app, it puts so much fun into recording the birds I’ve seen and heard while I’m out and about. The interface is user-friendly and suitable for all ages. It’s great to collect badges and to review my “lists”.
SW H
Wonderful App
Birda is my go to app for keeping records of my bird sightings and sessions. It has fantastic information which is great at aiding identification. With all the updates that are coming in the new year, this app is something special.
Emcil24
A Friendly Place
I love using the bird app, I have a pretty good knowledge of birds. But I do have some gaps in it, so it’s nice to have a safe space to check on a sighting to confirm the species. It’s really enjoyable and I love the badges you can collect. It’s like a real life Pokémon go.
Viperray5
Loving it
I really enjoy being able to interact with other birders on this platform! This seems like a great way to meet other birders and find some new spots.
Jane N
A great app
Enjoying it immensely and finding it useful too. Recording the different birds and counting them is showing me how the present climate is affecting them all. I've trebled the numbers by planting native hedging. A great app.
BCHphotography_
Such a great app!
I didn’t think I could enjoy birding more but this app makes it so much better. Some great features and a really great way to share your sightings with your friends or fellow birders nearby or around the world! ❤️
Carrie
Makes you want to spot birds more
I think this app is fun. It makes you want to spot birds more so I guess in a way it encourages you to get out and about instead of sitting in front of the TV.
Louise L
Easy to use and accurate
Love this app. It is easy to use and accurate, Their backup communication is really good. I noted a missing species. All through the process, I was kept informed about the progress in correcting the information. I now have the corrected, updated version. 😁 Thanks!
As featured in
AboutPressAmbassadorsAffiliatesInfluencersCareersPrivacyTerms & Conditions
An app for birdwatchers
Giving back
Connect with us
Copyright © 2024 Chirp Birding. All rights reserved.