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Species Guide

Chestnut Quail-thrush

Cinclosoma castanotum

The Chestnut Quail-thrush, a native Australian bird, is a medium-sized member of the Cinclosomatidae family. It exhibits sexual dimorphism, with males sporting a striking black breast, grey flanks, and chestnut to grey-brown upper parts, complemented by a white eyebrow and throat-patch. Females, on the other hand, present with a grey throat and breast, rufous and light brown upper parts, and a yellow-buff eyebrow and throat mark, resulting in a more subdued appearance. Both sexes share a white belly, a feature that adds to their distinctive look.

Identification Tips

To identify the Chestnut Quail-thrush, look for the male's black breast and the female's grey throat. The white belly is common to both sexes. Their high-pitched call, which sounds like "wheit-wheit-wheit" or an insect-like "see-see see," is also a helpful identifier.


This species thrives in scrub and low-lying vegetation, favoring stony ground with mulga-eucalyptus and acacias, as well as rocky hillocks adorned with grevilleas and tea trees.


The Chestnut Quail-thrush is endemic to Australia, excluding Tasmania. Its range spans central Queensland, western New South Wales, and south to Cobar. The race marginatum is found from the southwest corner of the Northern Territory to Shark Bay in Western Australia and south to Kalgoorlie.


These birds are ground-dwellers, preferring to run rather than fly. They are locally nomadic, diurnal, and often seen in pairs or small family groups. Their adeptness at hiding in undergrowth makes them a challenge to follow when disturbed.

Song & Calls

The Chestnut Quail-thrush's call is a distinctive high-pitched "wheit-wheit-wheit" or an insect-like "see-see see," which can be heard during the day.


Breeding season aligns with other quail-thrushes, from July to December. Males sing from dawn throughout this period. Nesting occurs between August and December, with 2 to 3 cream to white eggs, speckled with blackish-brown spots, laid in a ground nest made from local vegetation.

Diet and Feeding

An omnivorous bird, the Chestnut Quail-thrush feeds on ground insects like grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars, as well as seeds and native plant fruits.

Conservation status

The Chestnut Quail-thrush is currently listed as Least Concern, though populations have declined in parts of Western Australia and New South Wales. Threats include habitat loss, fragmentation, predation by invasive species, and inappropriate fire regimes. Conservation strategies focus on habitat retention, predator control, and sustainable fire management.

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Chestnut Quail-thrushes on Birda

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Kylie J
26 Feb 2024 - 10:57pm

More Jewel-babblers, Quail-thrushes

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