White-browed Scrubwren Patrick Kavanagh/Flickr

White-browed Scrubwren

The White-browed Scrubwren is a small, drab bird which inhabits the dense undergrowth in many different habitats. The male has a blackish mask; cream eye; white eyebrow and bold curving silver-white whisker-mark; rufous rump; and a variable dark tail band. The female is duller and her whisker-mark is browner.

Distinctive feature

White-brow and curving silvery whisker-mark.


36 – 44 cm long (from head to tail), with an average wing span of 76 cm



Clear, sustained 'steer-steer-tseer', or 'seat-you', 'seat-you'; deep zizzing scolding at intruders, cuckoos and snakes.


Mostly insects and other small spiders and mites. Occasionally, they eat seeds.


The nest is made of a large ball of grasses and leaves with a side tunnel leading to a cup lined with feathers; located on or near the ground, in thick vegetation, but could be in a tree fork a few metres high. The eggs are pale blue to pale purple and are spotted with brown at the base.

Field Guide

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Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • Courting/Mating

  • Nest present

  • Calling

  • Feeding

  • Bird on chicks

  • Bird on eggs

  • Bird on nest

  • Bird feeding young

Climate Adaptations

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

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

Year round. Usually breeds June to December. .

Where To Look

  • Coastal east, south and southwest Australia
  • From sea level to above the snowline
  • In undergrowth of forests, woodlands, scrubs, riverside thickets, heaths, bracken, saltmarsh, mangroves, parks, and gardens
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

Similar Species

The Large-billed Scrubwren (Sericornis magnirostris) is lighter, largely uniform brown in colour and lacks any markings on the face.

Other Tasmanian and Tropical Scrubwrens.