Noisy Miner Click to enlarge image
The Noisy Miner is a large Australian native honeyeater. Image: Richard Major
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    melanocephala
    Genus
    Manorina
    Family
    Meliphagidae
    Order
    Passeriformes
    Class
    Aves
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    28 cm

Despite their moderate size, Noisy Miners aggressively attack larger birds such as hawks and kookaburras. These attacks may be so vigorous that most other birds are excluded from an area occupied by Noisy Miners.

Identification

The Noisy Miner is a bold and curious bird. It is identified by its mostly grey body and black crown and cheeks. The bill is yellow, as are the legs and the naked skin behind the eye. The name is well suited as the common calls are uttered repeatedly by the members of the colony.

The Common Myna is quite different in plumage (mostly dark brown) and, although it has similar facial markings, belongs to the starling family while the miners belong to the honeyeaters.

Habitat

Noisy Miners are found in woodlands and open forests. They have also become well adapted to suburban situations and are a common sight in parks and gardens.

Distribution

Noisy Miners range from northern Queensland along the eastern coast to South Australia and Tasmania.



Feeding and diet

The Noisy Miner feeds on nectar, fruits and insects. Very occasionally they will eat small reptiles and amphibians. Food is either taken from trees or on the ground. In keeping with its highly social nature, the Noisy Miner usually feeds in large groups.

Communication

Loud 'pwee pwee pwee' and a piping 'pee pee pee'when alarmed.

Breeding behaviours

Noisy Miners breed in colonies and several broods may be reared in one season. The female constructs the nest and incubates the eggs alone, but both sexes will care for and feed the young birds. Additional 'helpers' also feed the young. Interestingly, these helpers are almost always male birds.

Breeding season: July to December

Economic impacts

Noisy Miners, Manorina melanocephala, can be annoying because of their constant vocalizations, but their main problem is the impact they have on other birds. Both problems arise from a dramatic increase in their abundance resulting from the creation of favourable habitat by humans.

References

  • Higgins, P.J., Peter, J.M. and Steele, W.K. (eds) 2001. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Volume 5 (Tyrant-flycatchers to Chats). Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
  • Longmore, N.W. 1991. The Honeyeaters and their Allies of Australia. Angus and Robertson and The National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.