Eastern Spinebill

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Habitat: Heathland, Woodland, Forest


The Eastern Spinebill prefers heath, forest and woodland.


The Eastern Spinebill inhabits shrubs in open eucalypt forests, as well as shrubland, heathland and suburban gardens.

They use their long, slender, decurved bills to probe deep into flowers, at all levels from the canopy down to the undergrowth, to feed on the sweet nectar.

Some plants appear to have evolved specially to be pollinated by them.

Fuelled with this energy-rich nectar, Eastern Spinebills are also often seen actively darting about on whirring, fluttering wings, after flying insects.

Largely sedentary, but undergoes some local movements, especially away from higher elevations in autumn/winter.


The Eastern Spinebill feeds on insects and nectar while perched or while hovering, very similar to a hummingbird.

Nectar is obtained from a wide array of flowers, including grevilleas and fuchsias. Its beak is particularly well-suited to extracting nectar from tubular flowers such as epacrids.


The Eastern Spinebill’s nest is a small cup of twigs, grass and bark, combined with hair and spider’s web. It is built in a tree fork, generally between 1 and 5 metres from the ground.

Only the female builds the nest and incubates the eggs (14 days).

Clutch usually 2 eggs.

The nestling period is 14 days and both parents feed the young when they hatch.

Breeding season is from August to January.