Animal Species:Red Wattlebird, Anthochaera carunculata

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.

Red Wattlebird feeding on nectar

Red Wattlebird feeding on nectar
Photographer: Richard Major © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Red Wattlebird

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.

Size range

34 cm to 36 cm

Similar Species

Yellow Wattlebird

Distribution

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

Habitat

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

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'.

Mating and reproduction

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.

Classification

Species:
carunculata
Genus:
Anthochaera
Family:
Meliphagidae
Order:
Passeriformes
Class:
Aves

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Ondine Evans , Web Researcher/Editor
Last Updated: