17 Amaze-wing Facts About The Chowchilla For Kids

One of the interesting chowchilla facts is that it has a white eye ring.

The chowchilla is a bird endemic to the continent of Australia. More specifically in Australia, it is found in the tropical rainforests in the northeastern parts of the state of Queensland. The chowchilla has been named for the 'chow-chilla' whistler-like calls it makes. It is seen both in the upland and lowland parts of the forest. A chowchilla is mostly a ground-dwelling bird seen living among leaf litter. Chowchilla birds are seen either in pairs during the breeding and mating period or with small groups of two to five birds for the rest of the year. These groups are territorial and have home ranges that clash with other chowchilla groups. Their feeding and foraging territories are smaller than the home ranges and these birds only become defensive when their territories are threatened. Chowchillas are mostly jet-black or dark brown birds with females showing orange, white, and rufous colors in their breast and bellies and the males showing just white. According to the IUCN, the chowchilla species is one of the Least Concern with these birds being common in their natural habitat and having few natural threats.

For more relatable content, check out these Alexandrine parakeet facts and palm warbler facts for kids.


Fact File

What do they prey on?

Invertebrates, small vertebrates, insects and their larvae, and lizards

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1-2 eggs

How much do they weigh?

4-7.6 oz (113-215 g)

How long are they?

11.4 in (29 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Dark brown, deep chocolate brown, white, rufous, and orange

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Humans and predators

What is their conservation status?

Humans and predators

Where you'll find them

Lowland and upland tropical rainforests, subtropical and tropical montane forests, and degraded former forests







Scientific Name

Orthonyx spaldingii





Chowchilla Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a chowchilla?

The chowchilla is a bird.

What class of animal does a chowchilla belong to?

The chowchilla belongs to the Aves class of animals.

How many chowchilla are there in the world?

The exact number of chowchilla birds in the world is unknown. The population of these birds has not been quantified, but they are very common within their range.

Where does a chowchilla live?

The chowchilla is endemic to the country of Australia. More specifically, the chowchilla bird range map is limited to the northeastern parts of the state of Queensland.

What is a chowchilla's habitat?

Chowchillas are found in habitats such as lowland and upland tropical rainforests, subtropical and tropical montane forests, and degraded former forests. This bird is often seen among leaf litter.

Who does chowchilla live with?

The chowchilla lives in groups of two to five birds all throughout the year. These birds have a designated foraging territory that they defend from other groups of neighboring birds. They also tend to have a home range that is bigger than the territory. The home range of different groups may overlap a little sometimes. A particular group will change its foraging area from one season to another. If a certain group increases in size, the home range also increases. Even though they live in groups, chowchillas are not cooperative breeders, meaning others of the group do not help out in the care of another bird's chicks.

During breeding, these birds are seen in pairs.

How long does a chowchilla live?

The average chowchilla lifespan is five years but birds as old as 17 years have also been recorded.

How do they reproduce?

Chowchillas reproduce by mating and laying eggs. They build their nests on or near the surface of the ground on things like stumps, logs, or ferns. The stick-nest is dome-shaped and bulky. Usually, one or two white eggs are laid.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the chowchilla species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature is Least Concern.

Chowchilla Fun Facts

What does the chowchilla look like?

Chowchillas are ground-dwelling and thrush-like birds. Both the males and females are deep chocolate or dark brown in color. They have a prominent white eye ring and the robust tail has spiky ends. These spiny tail feathers extend further than the feather vanes.  There is some sexual dimorphism as the belly, throat, and breast of the male chowchilla birds are white. The females have an orange or bright rufous upper breast and throat, and their lower breast and belly are white.

The female chowchilla has an orange or rufous upper breast and throat.

How cute are they?

Chowchilla birds are beautiful and cute. They are primarily a deep brown color and the white eye ring makes them look smart and mysterious. They also have complete white and bright orange bellies and they utter cute whistle-like calls.

How do they communicate?

Chowchilla birds communicate through calls and vocalizations. They have been named for their whistle-like 'chow-chilla' calls. They are also known to utter continuous chatters, songs, and some other complex calls.

How big is a chowchilla?

The average length of chowchilla bird is 11.4 in (29 cm), which makes them five times bigger than bee hummingbirds and twice as big as verdins. Chowchilla birds are also three times smaller than Hawaiian hawks.

How fast can a chowchilla fly?

Being a medium-sized bird, a chowchilla can fly at speeds of 25 mph (40 mph). This bird dwells mostly on the ground, so its speed might be slower and its flight weaker.

How much does a chowchilla weigh?

A chowchilla weighs 4-7.6 oz (113-215 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of the chowchilla species are not referred to with specific names. Since they are birds, they may be called cocks and hens respectively.

What would you call a baby chowchilla?

A baby chowchilla is called a chick.

What do they eat?

The chowchilla diet consists of invertebrates, small vertebrates, insects and their larvae, and lizards.

Possible predators of the chowchilla and their eggs include white-tailed rats, amethystine pythons, spotted tree monitors, carpet pythons, and gray goshawks.

Are they dangerous?

No, chowchilla birds are not dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

Chowchillas are free-roaming, wild, territorial, and social birds. They might not do well in captivity.

Did you know...

There is also a city in the American state of California that shares its name with the bird chowchilla. The city's name has been derived from the Chaushila American tribe. The Chaushila tribe once lived in the same area as the city. They were a Yokut Indian tribe and the name alludes to their warlike nature.

The most famous thing about the city of Chowchilla is Madera's Fossil Discovery Centre. The center has the remains of animals preserved for 700,000 years. The animals include saber-toothed cats, Colombian mammoths, as well the biggest bear of all time, the 12-ft (3.7 m) tall short-faced bear.

Chowchilla birds belong to the Orthonyx genus and Orthonychidae family of passerine birds called 'logrunners'. There are three logrunner birds, the Papuan logrunner (Orthonyx novaeguineae), the Australian logrunner (Orthonyx temminckii ), and the chowchilla (Orthonyx spaldingii). These birds are all native to New Guinea and Australia. Logrunners are known to be weak fliers. They are also carnivorous and they dig into the soil using their spiky tail-ends to find insects and lizards for food. They also use these tails to dig into the soil for support when feeding. Chowchillas are the largest birds in this family.

Are chowchillas endemic?

Yes, chowchilla birds are endemic. The native chowchilla range consists of tropical rainforests in the northeastern region of the Australian state of Queensland. The climate of Queensland suits chowchilla birds fine and they are not migratory.

How did the chowchilla get its name?

The chowchilla got its name from the whistler-like calls it makes. It sounds like they are saying 'chow-chilla'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our common nighthawk interesting facts and Limpkin fun facts for kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Chowchilla coloring pages.



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