Crested Shrike-tit

Crested Shrike-tit
Crested Shrike-tit
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Family: Pachycephalidae
Genus: Falcunculus
Vieillot, 1816
Species: F. frontatus
Binomial name
Falcunculus frontatus
Latham, 1802

The Crested Shrike-tit (Falcunculus frontatus) is a bird endemic to Australia where it inhabits open eucalypt forest and woodland.


Taxonomy and distribution

Eastern Shrike-tit

Recent work with nuclear gene sequencing suggests that the shrike-tits and the Wattled Ploughbill may require their own family, Falcunculidae (Dickinson 2003). There are three subspecies (sometimes considered full species) with disjunct ranges:[2][3]

  • Western Shrike-tit (F. f. leucogaster) - sparsely distributed in south-western Western Australia
  • Northern Shrike-tit (F. f. whitei) - rare, with isolated records in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia and the Top End of the Northern Territory
  • Eastern Shrike-tit (F. f. frontatus) - the stronghold of the species in south-eastern Australia from the Lower South-East of South Australia, coastally and in the Murray-Darling Basin to south-eastern Queensland, with some scattered occurrences further north and west in Queensland


Males are larger than females in wing length, weight, and bill-size.[4] Males have black throats, while females have olive green.


It feeds mainly on insects, spiders and, sometimes, particularly during the breeding season, young birds. Thistles are also taken. It has a parrot-like bill, used for distinctive bark-stripping behaviour, which gains it access to invertebrates.

Status and conservation

The Eastern Shrike-tit is evaluated as being of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Northern Shrike-tit is considered Endangered, and the Western Shrike-tit is listed as Near Threatened.[1] Both the Northern and Western Shrike-tits suffer from habitat loss and fragmentation.[5]




  1. ^ a b "Falcunculus frontatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Higgins & Peter (2002)
  3. ^ Higgins, P. J.; Peter, J. M. (2002). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Vol.6: Pardalotes to Shrike-thrushes (1. publ. ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. pp. 1050–1063. ISBN 0-19-553762-9. 
  4. ^ Noske, Richard (2003). "Does the crested shrike‐tit Falcunculus frontatus exhibit extended parental care?". Corella 27: 118–119. 
  5. ^ West, Judy. "Water for a Healthy Country". Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 


  • Del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. & Christie D. (editors). (2007). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 9788496553422
  • Dickinson, E. C. 2003. The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 3rd Ed. Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.
  • Schodde, R. and I. J. Mason. 1999. Directory of Australian Birds. Passerines: i-x, 1-851. CSIRO Publishing, Canberra.

External links