Tasmanian thornbills (Acanthiza ewingii) are the every-bird pin-up of the LBB ranks. For those unacquainted with LBBs, they are the elite cadre of Little Brown Birds which Tasmania has in abundance. Ask any bushwalking guide what that tiny brown feathery thing you saw flitting past at speed was, and “Oh, that’s an elbeebee!” is almost inevitably their response. Most visitors are too embarrassed by their unfamiliarity with this species to enquire further.
The Tasmanian thornbill is endemic to the state (meaning it’s found nowhere else), and is apparently distinguished from the damn near identical brown thornbill by its white underpants.
A mob of Tasmanian thornbills inhabit the scrub surrounding the rangers’ hut at Melaleuca. You may not be able to see them in these photos, but I promise you, they’re there in abundance, relieving the shrubbery of its insect fauna like a gang of adorable, feathery pickpockets.