The Southern Whiteface is a small, sturdy, grey-brown bird with a stubby finch-like bill which inhabits dry, open forest and woodlands. The Southern Whiteface was uplisted to Vulnerable as of March 2023.
The Southern Whiteface is a small, sturdy, grey-brown bird with a stubby finch-like bill, white forehead with a black margin and a pale eye. Underparts are pale grey with olive-buff flanks. In the south-west subspecies, the flanks are rufous. In-flight it flits its tail, which has a broad black tail band with white tips. Their average size is 11cm, and their average weight is 12 grams
Continual rapid twittering on one note, flight call is a brisk ‘wit, wit-awit’. Bird call recorded by: Marc Anderson
The Southern Whiteface prefers the drier habitats of southern Australia. In Queensland they are found only as far north as Birdsville and east to Darling Downs, in NSW east to about Tenterfield and south-west to the shale areas in the Sydney region. In Victoria they occur mostly in the drier foothills north of the Divide, in SA south to Eyre Peninsula. They are also found in southern Northern Territory and southern WA except the far south-west corner. They are not found in Tasmania.
Dry open forests and woodland and inland scrubs of mallee, mulga and saltbush are the preferred habitat of Southern Whiteface, especially areas with fallen timber or dead trees and stumps.
The Southern Whiteface forages in groups of 10-15 (or larger!) and mixes with other feeding species such as Yellow-rumped Thornbills, covering ground in short half-hops, one foot in front of the other, picking up food as they go.
Feeding mainly on insects and spiders, the Southern Whiteface forages on the ground and low in shrubbery where they may also take seeds and leaves.
In breeding season (June to December, but inland breeding time is influenced by rainfall), the Southern Whiteface builds an untidy domed nest of grass, rootlets and bark. Nests are built in a hollow limb, stump or fence post or in the foliage of shrubs and small trees, in sheds or in nest- boxes. The clutch size is 2-5 eggs, usually 3-4. The incubation period is 20 days.