Brush Bronzewing

Phaps elegans

Brush Bronzewing. Photo: John Spiers

Brush Bronzewings and Common Bronzewings are similar in appearance, however, Common Bronzewings are light-coloured, plump and grey. In contrast

Brush Bronzewings are small, darker and brown. Both birds have iridescent colour patches in their wing coverts but the Brush Bronzewing has only two rows, while Common Bronzewings have 4-5 such rows.

Brush Bronzewings live on seeds whether from native or introduced plants. A small proportion of insects are also eaten.

Breeding occurs can throughout the year, but mainly in spring and early summer when food supplies are at a maximum. The nest is a small cup which may be placed on the ground or in bushes or small trees.


Males differ from females in being larger, having a solid maroon patch on the upper throat a russet forehead and grey crown. Females are duller overall, having only a partially coloured throat and only a hint of cream on the forehead. Maroon areas in the male tend to be dark brown in the female. In both sexes, there are dark maroon (or red-brown) stripes extending from the lores, through the eyes to the nape. These are underlined by a buff cheek stipe which curves over the auriculars. The underparts and throat are a light blue-grey. The mantle is maroon in males, or red-brown in females. It extends as a wedge onto the chest. The back and tail and wings are brown. Iridescent patches appear on two rows of the wing coverts. Depending on the angle of light and the observer they range in colour from green, bronze to purple. The feet and legs are coral red, paler in females Juveniles are darker and duller without iridescent patches.

Where to find it

The Brush Bronzewing may be found in suitable habitat in coastal areas of the south and east of South Australia. Its distribution overlaps that of the Common Bronzewing but it prefers denser woodland and shrublands, including coastal heaths and wet sclerophylly forests, whereas Common Bronzewings prefer drier, more open woodlands. It is a sedentary species and moves only locally.