The chestnut-backed thornbird is usually observed singly or in pairs, typically one to four metres above the ground, searching for arthropods (3). Like other thornbirds, it probably hunts amongst dense bushes and thickets, searching branches, twigs and foliage. It may also peer into curled, dead leaves and will rummage in piles of leaf litter (5).
The chestnut-backed thornbird constructs a large, conspicuous, cylindrical stick nest, which usually hangs from the tip of a tree branch (4). The nests of thornbirds are distinctive, typically having a sideward-facing doorway which gives access to an antechamber. A low sill or ridge separates this from the inner chamber, which contains the eggs (5).
The chestnut-backed thornbird is presumed to be a monogamous species (3), pairing with a single mate for the breeding season to provide better protection and feeding of the young (6).