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Australian Fairy-Wrens: Maluridae

Striated Grasswren (amytornis Striatus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Striated grasswrens average 5.7 to 6.9 inches (14.5 to 17.5 centimeters) in length. The male weighs between 0.56 and 0.78 ounces (16 and 22 grams). Both males and females are similar in appearance, with russet brown and paler shades of brown and tan on the upperparts and with buff-whitish undersides. They also have russet, reddish, splashes on the sides and a bill that has black whisker marks. The female has chestnut flakes.

Geographic range: Striated grasswrens have populations scattered across Australia, including areas from New South Wales to Western Australia, with a small central area of Queensland for one of its subspecies.

Habitat: Striated grasswrens can be found on sand plains and rocky hills, and throughout the shrubby vegetation of the dry interior land.

Diet: Striated grasswren forage for food on the ground, eating insects, particularly ants and beetles, and seeds. They also have been observed eating cactus flowers and foraging at midnight.

Behavior and reproduction: By nature, the striated grasswren is secretive in its behavior. The birds are poor fliers, hopping instead over open ground with their tails cocked, or with it horizontal when they are traveling through vegetation that is very thick. Striated grasswrens can be found alone, or in small family groups. Their song is melodious with trills and whistles.

Due to the difficulty of observing this bird, their breeding habits have been difficult to define. A clutch has two or three red-spotted, white eggs. Cooperative breeding or help with the nest has not been observed.

The striated grasswren is secretive in its behavior, and is a difficult bird to study. (Illustration by Joseph E. Trumpey. Reproduced by permission.)

Striated grasswrens and people: There is no special significance between striated grasswrens and people. Since this bird is often distributed in areas that can be difficult to travel into, the bird can be difficult to observe.

Conservation status: By the early twenty-first century the striated grasswren had been listed by the New South Wales National Park as Near Threatened, in danger of becoming threatened. Their population and distribution has been severely reduced due destruction of favorable habitat by overgrazing, the introduction of herbivores, as well as predatory cats and foxes, and extensive fires. ∎



Campbell, Brude, and, Lack, Elizabeth, eds. A Dictionary of Birds. Vermillion, SD: Buteo Books, 1985.

Fisher, James, and Roger Tory Peterson. The World of Birds. Garden City, NJ: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964.

Lewis, Adrian, and Derek Pomeroy. A Bird Atlas of Kenya. Lisse, Netherlands: Swets and Zeitlinger, 1988.

Simpson, Ken, and Nicolas Day. The Birds of Australia, A Book of Identification. Dover, NH: Tanager Books, 1984.

Web sites:

Ehrlich , Paul R., David Dobkin, and Darryl Wheye. "Birds, DNA, and Evolutionary Convergence." Stanford Alumni Organization. http://www.stanfordalumni.org/birdsite/text/essays/Birds,_DNA.html (accessed on June 9, 2004).

"Fairywrens & Grasswrens." Monterey Bay. http://www.montereybay.com/creagrus/fairywrens.html (accessed on June 9, 2004).

"Striated Grasswrens." Gluepot's Biological Treasures and Threatened Birds. http://birdsaustralia.com.au/gluepot/threatened.html (accessed on June 9, 2004).

"Striated Grasswrens." Michael Morcombe's Field Guide to Australian Birds. http://www.michaelmorcombe.com.au/striatedgrasswre.html (accessed on June 9, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsAustralian Fairy-Wrens: Maluridae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Splendid Fairy-wren (malurus Splendens): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, AUSTRALIAN FAIRY-WRENS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS