Little Wattlebird Click to enlarge image
Little Wattlebird Image: flickr
creative commons

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    chrysoptera
    Genus
    Anthochaera
    Family
    Meliphagidae
    Order
    Passeriformes
    Class
    Aves
  • Size Range
    26 cm to 30 cm

The Little Wattlebird is the smallest of the wattlebirds.

Identification

The Little Wattlebird is a medium to large honeyeater, but is the smallest of the wattlebirds. It is mostly dark grey-brown above, with faint white shafts on each of the feathers. The underparts are grey and are heavily streaked with white. The streaks are finer around the throat, becoming more blotched on the sides of the belly. In flight, there is a large rufous patch in the wings. The eye is blue-grey. Birds of Western Australia have a red eye and a silver patch on the side of the throat; these are sometimes regarded as a different species. The sexes are similar. Young Little Wattlebirds resemble the adults, but are duller, have less streaking and a have a browner eye.

Habitat

Little Wattlebirds prefer the drier and often scrubby, habitats, such as banksia heaths, forests, woodlands and urban parks and gardens.

Distribution

Little Wattlebirds are found throughout south-eastern and south-western Australia and Tasmania.



Feeding and diet

As with other honeyeaters, Little Wattlebirds feed on nectar, which is obtained using a long, brush-tipped tongue, specially adapted to probing deep into flowers. Other food includes insects, flowers, berries and some seeds. Most feeding is done while perched, but some insects are caught in mid-air. Birds may feed alone or in small to large groups.

Breeding behaviours

If conditions are suitable as many as three broods may be raised in a year. The female Little Wattlebird normally constructs the nest, which is a large cup of twigs and grass, lined with soft materials, such as feathers and wool. The nest may be placed in a range of places from the ground up to about 15m. The female also incubates the eggs alone. Both sexes care for the young chicks.

  • Breeding Season: August to December most active, but can breed year round.