New Holland Honeyeater Click to enlarge image
New Holland Honeyeater Image: Aaron Fellmeth
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Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    novaehollandiae
    Genus
    Phylidonyris
    Family
    Meliphagidae
    Order
    Passeriformes
    Class
    Aves
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    17 - 18.5 cm long

Introduction

With long, slender beaks and a tongue which can protrude well beyond the end of their beaks, New Holland Honeyeaters are able to probe for nectar in the deep flowers of Banksias and Grevilleas.

Identification

The New Holland Honeyeater is mostly black and white, with a large yellow wing patch and yellow sides on the tail. It has a small white ear patch, a thin white whisker at the base of the bill and a white eye. This honeyeater is an active bird, and rarely sits still long enough to give an extended view. Sexes are similar in looks, but females are slightly smaller in size. Young birds are browner and have a grey eye.

Habitat

The New Holland Honeyeater is common in heath, forests, woodland and gardens, mainly where grevilleas and banksias are found. It is inquisitive and approaches humans. It also mixes with other types of honeyeaters.

Distribution

The New Holland Honeyeater's range extends throughout southern Australia, from about Brisbane, Queensland, to just north of Perth, Western Australia.



Feeding and diet

New Holland Honeyeaters are active feeders.They mostly eat the nectar of flowers, and busily dart from flower to flower in search of this high-energy food. Other food items include fruit, insects and spiders. Birds may feed alone, but normally gather in quite large groups. Most feeding takes place in lower areas of bushes and thickets

Communication

The voice comprises a loud 'chik', a fainter 'pseet' and some chattering notes. If danger, such as a bird of prey approaches, a group of honeyeaters will join together and give a loud alarm call.

Breeding behaviours

The New Holland Honeyeater's cup-shaped nest is made of bark and grasses, bound together with spider web. It is lined with soft material and is placed in a bush or tree, anywhere from ground level up to 6 m. Both sexes feed the chicks. A pair of adults may raise two or three broods in a year.

  • Breeding Season: any time of year; mainly summer and winter
  • Clutch size: 2 to 3
  • Incubation: 18 days
  • Time in nest: 16 days