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Scrub-Birds: Atrichornithidae

Physical Characteristics

Both species of the ancient scrub-bird family, the noisy and the rufous, are 6.5 to 9 inches (16.5 to 23 centimeters) long. Male noisy scrub-birds typically weigh about 1.7 ounces (52 grams), while the smaller male rufous scrub-bird weighs somewhat less. Plainly colored in drab brown with black bars, the birds use their natural camouflage (KAM-uh-flaj) to hide themselves in dense underbrush. The rufous species is reddish brown on top with a buff belly, while the noisy scrub-bird is brown on top and reddish brown on the lower belly, fading to off-white on its breast. Males of both species have distinct black markings on their throats and breasts. Scrub-birds have strong, short legs and rounded, weak wings that render them semi-flightless. Otherwise they are generally stoutly built. Their flat, long foreheads taper to a triangular bill, and they tend to carry their longish tails at an upward angle. Juveniles look similar to adults, but with duller plumage.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsScrub-Birds: Atrichornithidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Rufous Scrub-bird (atrichornis Rufescens): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, SCRUB-BIRDS AND PEOPLE