Red Wattlebird Click to enlarge image
Red Wattlebird Image: Duncan McCaskill
creative commons

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    carunculata
    Genus
    Anthochaera
    Family
    Meliphagidae
    Order
    Passeriformes
    Class
    Aves
  • Size Range
    34 cm to 36 cm

The Red Wattlebird is the second largest honeyeater in Australia (the Tasmanian Yellow Wattlebird is the largest). They can display domineering and often aggressive behaviour towards other birds intruding on their territory.

Identification

The Red Wattlebird is a large, noisy honeyeater. The common name refers to the fleshy reddish wattle on the side of the neck. The plumage is grey-brown on the body, with prominent white streaks and yellow on the belly. The face is pale and the tail is long with a white-tip. Young Red Wattlebirds are duller than the adult and have a brown, rather than reddish, eye. The wattle is also very small and pale.

Habitat

The Red Wattlebird occurs in forests, woodlands and gardens, where it aggressively protects food-bearing plants from other honeyeater species.

Distribution

The Red Wattlebird's range extends throughout the southern areas of the Australian mainland.



Feeding and diet

The Red Wattlebird feeds on nectar, which it obtains by probing flowers with its thin curved bill. Some insects are also eaten, taken either from foliage or caught in mid-air. Berries and the honeydew produced by some insects add to the bird's diet.

Communication

Several distinctive but unmusical calls including coughs, a harsh 'yac a yac' and a loud 'chok'.

Breeding behaviours

Red Wattlebirds raise one or two broods in a season. Both sexes have been recorded sharing incubation duties, but often the female will do this alone. Both parents feed the young.

  • Breeding Season: July to December.