Eastern Spinebill, Mount Lofty

on 15th March 2023

Wong Kais visited Mount Lofty, Adelaide in 2016. During the pleasant walk he heard the loud and high pitched calls of an Eastern Spinebill, Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris. He trained his camera on the very attractively patterned bird with a down-curved bill, an adult male. It was feeding excitedly on the nectar taken from white tubal flowers which grew in small bunches. The acrobatic bird probed the openings of the tubal flowers. The photo gallery below shows the bird’s agility and nimbleness while tackling flowers which were oriented in different directions.

Image 1: The Spinebill clung onto the thin twig and twisted its body to probe the flowers. Brush-tipped tongues enable the bird to feed on nectar.
Image 2: The bird reached for overhead flowers while holding its body parallel to a thin twig.
Image 3: Sizing up the flowers above its head. The legs were held wide apart on an almost vertical twig.
Image 4: Stretching its body and neck to reach some overhead flowers.
Image 5: The bird was directly overhead the photographer. The triangular shaped chestnut patch stood out from the white throat.
Image 6: The narrow, downward curved bill and black head is obvious against the green background. Again the patch of chestnut brown stands out from the white throat.
Image 7: Feeding from an upside down position. The legs are spread out along the small twig to offer stability. The underside of the white tail feathers are glimpsed as the bird flits from flowers to flowers.
Image 8: The red iris of the eye is captured when the bird moved to this illuminated position.

All photographs © Wong Kais

Texts and captions by Teo Lee Wei



  1. Eastern Spinebill call: Birds of the Huon Tasmania
  2. 17~ Bird Calls/Songs/Sounds~Eastern Spinebill~  Australian Backyard Garden Birds Singing
  3.  Birds of Australia – A photographic guide by Iain Campbell, Sam Woods and Nick Leseberg © 2015
  4.  Australian Wildlife by Leonard Cronin © 2007.
  5. Fleurieu Birds by Peter Gower © 2012
  6.  Field Guide to Australian Birds by Michael Morcombe © 2004
  7. Wildlife of Australia by Iain Campbell and Sam Woods © 2013
  8. The Robins and Flycatchers of Australia by Walter E. Boles © 1988
  9.  Handbook of the Birds of the World edited by Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott and Jordi Sargatal © 1992


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If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

LW Teo

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