Genus Henicopsaltria Stal, 1866 (Grinders)

Members of this genus are most closely allied to Arenopsaltria (a genus restricted to South Australia and Western Australia) and Burbunga. Four species are currently recognised in Henicopsaltria, three of which are confined to north Queensland and the other is found in central eastern Australia. The genus is characterised by having large orange or black operculae and a rostrum that extends well beyond the hind coxae.

Distribution of the genus Henicopsaltria

Index to Genus Henicopsaltria

Henicopsaltria eydouxii Jungle Grinder
Henicopsaltria rufivelum Razor Grinder

See also genus Arenopsaltria (below)

Razor Grinder Henicopsaltria eydouxii (Guérin-Méneville, 1838)



Size: Forewing length: 45-60mm.

Range and Season: From Miriam Vale and Kroombit Tops in central Queensland, coastally south along the coast and adjacent ranges to Narooma in southern New South Wales. An isolated population also occurs in the Cathu State Forest near Mackay (Moulds, 1993). Adults occur from late November to sometimes as late as May in the more northerly parts of its distribution.

Habits: Adults can occur in local aggregations and also scattered populations in dry and wet sclerophyll forest throughout their range. They tend to be fairly static, but will fly without hesitation if disturbed. The main trunks of various Myrtaceae are preferred perching sites.

Song: An exceptionally loud series of broken pulses that increases in volume and culminates into a continuous roar, which then brakes up and dies away somewhat abruptly. Local groups of males sing at the same time. Singing becomes most vigorous at dusk, when waves of song are emitted constantly from different parts of the forest. Populations tend to feed silently for much of the afternoon. Males take flight when disturbed and emitted a distress call, which can sometimes be detrimental in their attempts to evade predators, such as birds.

Recording of Razor Grinder (Eidsvold, Queensland)

Song type - Laughing Razor Grinder: Interestingly there is a different song type that is produced by populations in wet sclerophyll forest and rainforest, between Cunningham's Gap (south-east Queensland) and Dorrigo (New South Wales). Populations that produce the typical song have not been observed to produce this song and vice versa. Both types occur sympatrically on the Beechmont Range near Nerang and possibly overlap in the Cunningham's Gap area. Further investigation is required to ascertain the specific status of both song types.

Oscillogram of calling song (Laughing Razor Grinder)

Recording of Laughing Razor Grinder (Cunningham's Gap, Queensland)

Recording of Laughing Razor Grinder chorus (Dorrigo, New South Wales)

Thanks to Rob Morgan for providing the recording from Dorrigo

Back to top

Jungle Grinder Henicopsaltria rufivelum Moulds, 1978

Appearance: Ochre brown on head with thorax with a series of distinctive black lines (fascia) extending from the back of the head. The addomen is dark with a fine layer of silver hair (pubescence). Males have distinctive large, orange opercula on the ventral side. The wings are faintly infuscated around the apical cells. These insects have a compact and robust appearance.

Size: Forewing length: 42-47mm.

Range and Season: From south of Cooktown to Cairns in Queensland wet tropics. December to March.

Habits: Adults occur at varying heights on tropical rainforest trees, both in the lowlands (e.g. Mossman Gorge) and highlands (e.g. Mount Lewis). Populations occur in loose aggregations.

Song: A series of harsh double-notes that increases in speed and volume to a culmination point before receding.

Recording of calling song

Genus Arenopsaltria (Sandgrinders)

Allied to Henicopsaltria. Four species restricted to southern and south-western Australia.

Sandgrinder Arenopsaltria fullo (Walker, 1850)


South-western Western Australia

Back to "Species, images and songs"

Back to main page