The bristlebirds are a family of passerine birds, Dasyornithidae. There are three species in one genus, Dasyornis. The family is endemic to the south-east coast and south-west corner of Australia. The genus Dasyornis was sometimes placed in the Acanthizidae or, as a subfamily, Dasyornithinae, along with the Acanthizinae and Pardalotinae, within an expanded Pardalotidae, before being elevated to full family level by Christidis & Boles (2008).
Eastern bristlebirds were first seen by Europeans in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) when Latham first described the species for science in 1801. According to Gould, they were "to be found throughout New South Wales in all places suitable to its habits, although, from the recluse nature of its disposition, it is a species familiar to few, even of those who have long been resident in the colony." After two centuries of European colonisation, two of the three species of bristlebirds are endangered (see Status and Conservation), and all have restricted and disjunct ranges. Their distributions are non-overlapping, with the Western bristlebird, inhabiting a tiny area of dense heathland on the south-west coast of Western Australia, the most specialised. On the east coast, the Eastern bristlebird occupies a wider range of habitats in relict pockets of far south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales, and coastal fringes south of Sydney to the Victorian border. The Rufous bristlebird's range is dense coastal shrub and heathland in far south-west Victoria and extreme east South Australia. The least-shy member of the family, the newly discovered subspecies caryochrous, occurs in open eucalyptus forest with dense understorey in the Otway range, but is also found in car parks, tracks and gardens along the edges of its dense habitat. Gould's description of the Eastern bristlebird's habitat as "reed-beds and thickets, particularly such as are overgrown with creepers and vegetation" captures the density of coastal heath scrub and grasslands favoured by the Dasyornithidae, although not the fire-dependence of these environments, which require burning to prevent the trees shading out the grass component.