Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Eastern Spinebill (male)

Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris


Adults grow to around 16cm, males & females similar but female is slightly duller in colour with a grey crown (males black crown). White under throat with muddy violet patch in centre, chestnut on nape of neck, black iridescent wings, tail & back, lighter chestnut belly area, dark area extends from head around to chest, eyes red, beak is long, thin & curved, call is repetitive & high. Feeds on nectar & occasional insects & sweet fruit. Hovers in similar style to hummingbirds.


Found throughout the very east of Australia from South Australia around the coastline up to Far North Queensland, also in Tasmania in habitat that provides flowering nectar producing plants whether in natural environment or gardens. This one in garden setting adjacent to dry highland woodland.


These photos show the 'hummingbird' style of hovering at flowers gathering nectar which is a characteristic of these birds. Many other native nectar feeders adopt the same style to varying degrees.

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


kdpicturemaker 7 years ago

Thanks MacC, Tom15 & LeanneG for your kind comments on this spotting! I've been trying for a while to get some decent shots of them - they torment me, almost landing on my head when I haven't got a camera handy!

MacChristiansen 7 years ago

Nice pic KD

Tom15 7 years ago

Nice looking bird and great shots as always!

LeanneGardner 7 years ago

I love these birds! Beautiful photos kd.

kdpicturemaker 7 years ago

Thanks lori.tas, Nayeli & Mark. Yes I saw that other name for them Mark, it is a good one! The ones I've seen & photographed in this region always seem to have the very red eyes, the females slightly duller, more brownish as are juveniles. I think they vary in many aspects from region to region. I've noticed a lot of bird species do vary.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

Just noticed your eye is very red and ours are brown. Maybe the lighting. Another common name for them is Cobbler's Awl and with that beak I think it's a good one.

Nayeli 7 years ago

Amazing, nice bird!

lori.tas 7 years ago

I often describe these a Hummingbird-like. This photo captures that brilliantly.

kdpicturemaker 7 years ago

Thanks Mark. It's exhausting just trying to get a few good photos of these birds! These will make good reference for my future illustrations.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

Great shots. The closest thing we have to a hummingbird. Well done to capture these guys. They sure don't hang around to make it easy.

kdpicturemaker 7 years ago

Thank you Jellis for comment. They move so fast.

Jellis 7 years ago


Spotted by

Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Mar 9, 2014
Submitted on Mar 10, 2014

Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team