Young spinebills

There’s a secret world that thrives amongst the Kangaroo Paw forests at Cranbourne botanical gardens.


Eastern Spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) – juvenile
1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 1600


These tiny honeyeaters flitted amongst the Kangaroo Paws, quickly dipping their long de-curved bills into the blossoms to collect nectar with their brush-tipped tongues. I particularly like the muted colours of young Eastern Spinebills. They are about 16cm from the tip of their tails to the tip of their bills, and they weigh a tiny 11g.


Eastern Spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) – juvenile
1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 1600


There were two juvenile spinebills foraging among the Kangaroo Paws which is great as Eastern Spinebills lay two eggs and it means that both of them successfully fledged. I am a huge fan of Kangaroo Paws and have finally planted a few in my garden, where they are visited each day by the local spinebills.


Eastern Spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) – male
1/1250, f/6.3, ISO 400


Just in case you aren’t sure what an adult Eastern Spinebill looks like, here’s one I prepared earlier. The adult birds are vibrantly coloured, especially the males. They have beautiful russet markings, contrasting white underparts, and bright red eyes.

Happy birding



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