Ornithological Note 149

Notes on the vocalizations of Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis textilis)

Peter F. D. Boesman April 21, 2016
Section(s): Voice, Systematics

In the following we briefly analyze and compare voice of the different races of Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis textilis). We also try to quantify the extent of any vocal differences using the criteria proposed by Tobias et al. (2010), as a support for taxonomic review. We have made use of sound recordings available on-line from Macaulay Library (ML).

There are very few recordings available, only of races textilis and modestus. Song of both races starts with a few high-pitched 'tsee' notes which lead to a variable squeaky twittered phrase. The latter consists of several sharply descending or rising notes covering a wide frequency range, and occasionally also includes a fast and short high-pitched rattle.

textilis (west)

intro notes

                min freq.                                7000 - 7900Hz

                max. freq.                              8800 - 9000Hz


                longest note                           0.11 - 0.135s

                min freq.                                2200 - 3770Hz

                max. freq.                              13000 - 15600Hz

modestus (east)

intro notes

                min freq.                                7000 - 7100Hz

                max. freq.                              8000 - 9000Hz


                longest note                           0.085 - 0.095s

                min freq.                                2259 - 3700s

                max. freq.                              11000 - 13700Hz

From the above, it would seem that there are no obvious differences among both races. There is a possibility that modestus has slightly shorter notes, and reaches slightly lower frequencies, but more samples would be needed to prove this, or any other vocal difference.

This note was finalized on 1st October 2015, using sound recordings available on-line at that moment. We would like to thank in particular the Macaulay Library for giving access to restricted recordings.



Tobias, J.A., Seddon, N., Spottiswoode, C.N., Pilgrim, J.D., Fishpool, L.D.C. & Collar, N.J. (2010). Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis 152(4): 724–746.

More Information: on149_thick-billed_grasswren.pdf 

Recommended Citation

Boesman, P. (2016). Notes on the vocalizations of Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis textilis). HBW Alive Ornithological Note 149. In: Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow-on.100149
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