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White-browed Scrubwren

Sericornis frontalis


The White-browed Scrubwren is a small, drab bird which inhabits the dense undergrowth in many different habitats. 

Male: blackish mask; cream eye; white eyebrow and bold curving silver-white whisker-mark; rufous rump; variable dark tail band.

Female: duller, whisker-mark browner. 

Voice: clear, sustained 'steer-steer-tseer', or 'seat-you', 'seat-you'; deep zizzing scolding at intruders, cuckoos and snakes

Nest: domed of loose grass, twigs, fine roots, leaves; in bank; roots; undergrowth; sword-grass, tussock.

Egg: 2-3; stout oval; grey-white to pale buff; blotched, spotted dull brown/purplish brown. 

What to Observe

  • Courting/mating
  • Calling
  • Feeding
  • Nest present
  • Bird on chicks
  • Bird on eggs
  • Bird on nest
  • Bird feeding young


ClimateWatch Science Advisor

We expect birds to start breeding and singing earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start appearing in new areas as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them. Extreme climatic events in winter are also known to affect White-browed Scrubwren survival (Gardner et al, 2017)

When To Look

Year round. Usually breeds June to December. 

Where To Look

Coastal east, south and southwest Australia, in undergrowth of forests, woodlands, scrubs, from sea level to above the snowline; riverside thickets; heaths; bracken; saltmarsh; mangroves; parks, gardens


White-browed Scrubwren compiled distribution map - BirdLife International

White-browed Scrubwren compiled distribution map - BirdLife International



Pizzey & Knight (2007) The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Eighth Edition


Gardner JL, Rowley E, de Rebeira P, de Rebeira A, Brouwer L. 2017 Effects of extreme weather on two sympatric Australian passerine bird species. Phil.Trans. R. Soc. B 372: 20160148. 



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  1. What Else?

    Similar species: Tasmanian, Tropical Scrubwrens; thornbills. Keep an eye our for the distinct white-brow and curving silver-white whisker-mark of the White-browed Scrubwren.

  1. Did You Know?

    Winter extreme climatic events affect the survival of Scrubwrens more strongly than average temperatures, whereas the opposite was found for fairy-wrens, indicating that same climatic conditions can affect the survival of similar-sized, coexisting species in different ways (Gardner et al, 2017)

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