As its name suggests the Spinifexbird lives in spinifex, Triodia, particularly stands of tall old hummocks among acacia scrub along the slopes and valleys of low stony hills. The spinifexbird (Poodytes carteri) is endemic to inland Australia. It is the arid zone equivalent of the rank coastal grasslands occupied by the Tawny Grassbird.
The call of Spinifexbird is harsh, t-hut-tchut or short, sharp kik, in alarm and contact. However, the song of Spinifexbird is a loud, high, repeated whistling warble, cherry wheat, checrit, and a down-slurred cheeroo, by a male; also rendered je-swee-ah-voo. The song is quite distinctive but brief – lasting less than a second but repeated at regular intervals. The size of a Spinifexbird is about 150-160 mm in length.
In this habitat, the Spinifexbird is not infrequent but very local, and sedentary, established pairs holding to a small stable territory year-round. To defend them, breeding males sing from the tops of bushes or clumps of spinifex. They live as simple pairs in permanent territories, spending most of their time in the grass layer.
Spinifexbirds usually forage alone. They work deftly through clumps of spinifex in which they hide if disturbed and hop quickly over the ground, tail part-cocked, picking up food as they go. Diet mainly consists of insects, small beetles and grasshoppers, and seeds, a number of which may be fed to chicks.
If alerted, the birds will climb to the top of a clump of spinifex to look about, chattering. But in flight, they flutter weakly, straight and low from hummock to hummock, ‘heavy’ tail trailing and pumping up and down. In its structure, the tail is distinctively round-tapered and almost covered with long upper-and under tail coverts. This bird is also known as Desert Bird and Carter’s Desert Bird.
Both sexes are similar in appearance. The bird’s head is rufous with pale buff eyebrows. Rests of the upper parts are rufous-brown. The wings and tail are darker browns. The tail feathers were tipped with pale buff. The throat is dull white in color. Rests of the underparts are plain grayish white, washed pink on the flanks. The eyes are brown in color. The bill is grey-brown above, and paler below. Normally the feet are grey-pink.
The immature bird is paler than adults but slightly streaked. Also known as Carter’s desertbird, it is named after Thomas Carter, an English ornithologist and pastoralist active in Western Australia from 1887 to 1928. They are very reticent birds and in the presence of humans hardly ever show themselves, but in the breeding season, males often betray their presence by singing from elevated perches.
Nesting and breeding season is mainly August-November or after good rains. The bird made a deep cup-shaped nest, of fine grasses, sparingly lined with rootlets. The nest is generally concealed deep in a clump of spinifex. Its diet comprises a variety of insects and seeds collected in “spinifex” or Triodia grass. This species flies weakly, with its tail drooping.
Spinifexbird bird normally lays two pale pink color eggs, which are speckled with lilac and red-brown. The eggs are particularly at a larger end and long-oval shape about 18 x 13 mm in size. In spinifex mainly on stony ground, along coastal Western Australia from Hall’s Creek and Fitzroy River, south toMinilya River and Dampier and Monte Bello island groups.
Therefore, then eastwards to Alice Springs in the south and Newcastle Waters in the north, NT, and Cloncurry and Opalton, western Queensland. This bird is not globally threatened; the species may be common in suitable habitats, although it is hardly ever seen due to the remote and arid nature of its habitat.