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Species Guide

Forty-spotted Pardalote

Pardalotus quadragintus

The forty-spotted pardalote, Pardalotus quadragintus, is a diminutive and vivacious passerine, measuring a mere 9 to 10 centimeters in length. Its plumage is less vibrant than its relative, the spotted pardalote, with a subdued greenish-brown back and head, and an olive rump. The under-tail is a muted yellow, while the chest is white with a hint of yellow. Notably, the wings are black with white tips, presenting a speckled appearance of numerous dots—surpassing the forty implied by its name—when the wings are closed. Both adults and juveniles maintain the same plumage throughout the year, with the young being slightly less colorful.

Identification Tips

To identify the forty-spotted pardalote, look for the distinctive pattern of white spots on the black wings, which are more numerous than forty when the wings are folded. The bird lacks the brow line seen in some pardalotes and has a white chest with light yellow tints. The absence of seasonal plumage variation simplifies identification throughout the year.


This species is almost exclusively found in dry eucalypt forests, particularly those with a high concentration of Eucalyptus viminalis, or white gum trees, which are crucial for their foraging.


As of recent records, the forty-spotted pardalote is confined to a few isolated colonies in the south-east corner of Tasmania, with the majority of the population residing on Maria Island and Bruny Island. Scattered colonies exist on mainland Tasmania, and there is a possibility of a few remaining on Flinders Island.


During the breeding season, forty-spotted pardalotes pair up and defend their territories, but in winter, they may gather into small flocks. They are methodical insect hunters, searching for small insects in the canopy. Nesting occurs in tree hollows and, on rare occasions, ground burrows.

Conservation Status

The forty-spotted pardalote is classified as Endangered by the IUCN. Its population has seen a decline of up to 60% over 17 years prior to 2010/2011. The species faces threats from land clearing for agriculture, climate change-induced low rainfall, bushfires, competition from other bird species, predation by introduced species like laughing kookaburras, and parasitism by the native fly Passeromyia longicornis.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the forty-spotted pardalote is closely tied to the white gum, Eucalyptus viminalis, which constitutes approximately 80% of the nestlings' diet. They forage almost exclusively in these trees for their insect prey.

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More Pardalotes

A photo of a Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) , male

Spotted Pardalote

Pardalotus punctatus
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