SCRUB-BIRD, the name of an Australian genus, one of the most curious ornithological types of the many furnished by that country. The first examples were procured between Perth and Augusta in West Australia, and were described by J. Gould in the Zoological Society's Proceedings for 1844 (pp. 1, 2) as forming a new genus and species under the name of Atrichia clamosa, the great peculiarity observed by that naturalist being the absence of any bristles around the gape, in which respect alone it seemed to differ from the already known genus Sphenura. Later, however, it was given its modern name Atrichornis clamosa and on account of the discovery of its peculiar sternum (made by A. Newton) it was removed from Oscine division of the Passeres, and the family Atrichornithidae in the sub-oscine division of Passeres was made for the genus, the nearest ally being the lyre-bird (q.v.), now placed in the family Menuridae.
West-Australian Scrub-bird (Atrichornis clamosa).
Both the known species of scrub-bird are about the size of a small thrush—A. clamosa being the larger of the two. This species is brown above, each feather barred with a darker shade; the throat and belly are reddish white, and there is a large black patch on the breast; while the flanks are brown and the lower tail-coverts rufous. A. rufescens of New South Wales has the white and black of the fore-parts replaced by brown, barred much as is the upper plumage. Both species inhabit the thickest “scrub” or brushwood forest; but little has been ascertained as to their mode of life except that the males are noisy, imitative of the notes of other birds, and given to violent gesticulations. The nest and eggs seem never to have been found, and indeed no example of the female of either species is known to have been procured, whence that sex may be inferred to escape observation by its inconspicuous appearance and retiring habits. (A. N.)