Yellow Thornbill, Acanthiza nana Click to enlarge image
Yellow Thornbill, Acanthiza nana Image: Chris Lindorff

Fast Facts

  • IUCN Conservation Status
  • Classification
  • Size Range
    10 cm

The Yellow Thornbill is found in open forests, woodlands and shrub lands throughout mainland eastern Australia. The average size is 10cm and it can be identified by its greenish-olive coloured back and white streaked cheeks and ears.

What do Yellow Thornbills look like?


The Yellow Thornbill is a small to medium-sized thornbill and is the most yellow of the thornbill group. It is greenish-olive on the back, with white streaking on the cheeks and ears, and has pale to bright yellow underparts. There is a reddish brown tone on the chin and throat. The young birds are similar but duller.

Where do Yellow Thornbills live?


The Yellow Thornbill is found in open forests, woodlands and shrublands which are dominated by Casuarinas, Acacias or paperbarks rather than eucalypts. Often seen in parks and gardens, preferring more established areas.


The Yellow Thornbill is found throughout mainland eastern Australia, from Atherton Tableland, Queensland to eastern South Australia.

What do Yellow Thornbills eat and how do they communicate?

Feeding and diet

The Yellow Thornbill feeds mainly on insects, but may sometimes eat seeds. They feed almost exclusively in the foliage of trees, most often Acacias, paperbarks, Casuarinas and native pines.


Harsh, scratchy two-note calls: 'tzid-id' or 'tzid-id, tis-tis'.

What are Yellow Thornbills breeding behaviours?

Breeding Behaviour/s

Breeding pairs of Yellow Thornbills may sometimes have helpers to assist them with feeding the young. Females build a rounded domed nest, with a narrow, hooded entrance near the top, out of grasses, bark and other materials, lining it with feathers, fur or soft plant down. The nest is usually in twigs of upper tree branches. The female incubates the eggs alone, but both parents (and possibly helpers) feed the young.

Breeding Season: July to March.

Are Yellow Thornbills endangered?

Economic/social impacts

Researchers found that the Yellow Thornbill was not found in newer urban developments in one study, but was found in more established areas.