Redthroat - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Pyrrholaemus brunneus
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 01 Dec 2017


The Redthroat is a small, generally nondescript bird of inland shrublands. It is generally dark grey-brown above and paler and greyer below, while there is contrasting off-white feathering in front of the eye. The tail is darker and has a prominent white tip, which is particularly obvious in flight. The male has a distinctive rufous throat patch, while in the female this is off-white or cream.


Endemic to southern mainland Australia in all States and the NT, the Redthroat is a sedentary species with no known large-scale seasonal movements. In NSW, the species is confined to the far west of the state, with populations known from four main areas, though the species is probably under-recorded due to its shy habits and low observer numbers within its distribution. A population exists in the Bulloo Overflow to the east of Tibooburra, with occasional records further to the west in Sturt NP. There are records from around Broken Hill extending at least as far north as Mutawintji NP. The two areas in the south west of NSW are in chenopod shrublands (particularly Old Man Saltbush) to the north of Penarie, 25 kilometres north of Balranald and around the Great Darling Anabranch (particularly around Nearie Lake NR) to the north of Wentworth. Scattered records are known from other locations, such as around Lake Victoria and near Oxley, so further survey may reveal greater numbers in NSW.

Habitat and ecology

  • In NSW the species has been recorded mainly in chenopod shrublands including Old Man Saltbush, Black Bluebush and Dillon Bush shrublands. Around Broken Hill it appears to be associated with the denser vegetation, particularly Acacias, found in drainage lines that run from the rocky hills. In other locations it is known from Canegrass and Lignum swamps and depressions, particularly on floodplains.
  • In other parts of its range, the Redthroat mainly inhabits acacia (particularly Mulga) and chenopod shrublands, often along watercourses or drainage lines. At this point of time it is not known from Mulga woodlands in NSW. More rarely it is also known to occur in mallee with a diverse heath shrub layer (SA/Victoria), taller semi-arid woodlands (WA), heathlands dominated by banksia and tea tree (Victoria) and shrublands with a White Cypress Pine overstorey (SA).
  • Breeds in late winter to spring and builds a bulky dome-shaped nest with a side entrance from coarse strips of bark, grass and feathers. The nest is located in shrubs or small trees up to one metre above the ground and usually contains two to four eggs.
  • Their diet consists of a wide variety of terrestrial invertebrates (beetles, ants, termites, earwigs, grasshoppers, bugs, caterpillars, butterflies, moths, wasps and spiders) and grass seeds gathered from the ground and amongst low foliage.
  • This species is usually solitary or in pairs and males can be very vocal and frequently mimic the calls of other birds. However, it is generally a shy and unobtrusive species, feeding quietly on the ground or in low shrubs, and flying rapidly between shrubs when disturbed, making observation difficult.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Broken Hill ComplexBarrier Range Known None
Broken Hill ComplexBarrier Range Outwash Known None
Broken Hill ComplexMootwingee Downs Known None
Broken Hill ComplexScopes Range Known None
Channel CountryBulloo Known None
Channel CountryBulloo Dunefields Predicted None
Channel CountryCentral Depression Predicted None
Channel CountryCore Ranges Predicted None
Channel CountrySturt Stony Desert Known None
Cobar PeneplainBarnato Downs Predicted None
Cobar PeneplainBoorindal Plains Predicted None
Cobar PeneplainCanbelego Downs Predicted None
Cobar PeneplainNymagee Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsGreat Darling Anabranch Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsLouth Plains Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsMenindee Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsPooncarie-Darling Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsWilcannia Plains Predicted None
Mulga LandsCuttaburra-Paroo Predicted None
Mulga LandsKerribree Basin Predicted None
Mulga LandsParoo Overflow Predicted None
Mulga LandsParoo-Darling Sands Predicted None
Mulga LandsUrisino Sandplains Predicted None
Mulga LandsWarrego Sands Predicted None
Mulga LandsWest Warrego Predicted None
Mulga LandsWhite Cliffs Plateau Known None
Murray Darling DepressionDarling Depression Predicted None
Murray Darling DepressionSouth Olary Plain Known None
Other StateQLD Known None
Other StateSA Known None
RiverinaLachlan Known None
RiverinaMurray Scroll Belt Known None
RiverinaMurrumbidgee Predicted None
Simpson Strzelecki DunefieldsStrzelecki Desert Known None