The Western Bristlebird is a medium-sized brown, ground-dwelling songbird with short wings and a long tail. It is 17 cm long and weighs 26–39 g. The crown and hindneck are dark brown with light-brown mottling. The sides of the neck are light brownish-grey with faint scalloping which merge into light-brown ear-coverts. The eyebrow is pale grey while the chin and throat are off-white with fine dark-brown scalloping. The upperbody is all dark brown, with the mantle, scapulars and upper back mottled pale grey, and the lower back and rump having a rufous tinge. The uppertail is olive brown with rufous edges. The breast is light brownish-grey with dark-brown scalloping and the belly is off-white, grading to brown on the flanks, with fine dark-brown scalloping. The undertail is brownish grey. The wings are rufous brown above and brownish grey below. The bill is dark grey with a pale base to the lower mandible, the eyes are red-brown and the legs and feet are greyish. The sexes are alike. Juveniles are similar to adults, but lack mottling and scalloping on their plumage (Higgins & Peter 2002). Western Bristlebirds forage on or close to the ground, taking mainly invertebrates, including worms, snails and insect and their larvae, as well as seeds. They constantly peck at the ground, using the bill to probe beneath the leaf litter or sweep fallen leaves aside. The Western Bristlebird lays two dull-white, spotted eggs in a large domed nest of sedge, rushes and sticks.
The Western Bristlebird usually occurs in pairs, but has also been observed singly or in small family groups (McNee 1986; Smith 1987).
The Western Bristlebird is distinctive inhabitant of the heathlands of south-western Australia and restricted to a coastal strip of southern Western Australia from Two Peoples Bay to near East Mount Barren in the eastern end of Fitzgerald River National Park, with a large gap further west of the National Park. Most of the population (approx 1,000) occurs between Two Peoples Bay and Waychinicup River, and have been recorded at a number of different sites in, and near, Fitzgerald River National Park, between Gairdner River and East Mount Barren.
The Western Bristlebird species has been uplisted to Endangered because it has a very small range, and a small population which is undergoing a decline, owing mainly to the effects of wildfires. Large lightning-induced fires in 2005 and 2006 severely reduced the population, and ongoing habitat degradation from fires is likely.
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