New Holland Honeyeater

The New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae), is found throughout southern Australia, from about Brisbane, Queensland, to just north of Perth, Western Australia. It is inquisitive and approaches humans. It is common in heath, forests, woodland and gardens, mainly where grevilleas and banksias are found. Its range extends throughout It also mixes with other types of honeyeaters.

It is 6.7 to 7.3 inches long. It 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. Sexes are similar in looks, but females are slightly smaller in size. Young birds are browner and have a gray eye.

This honeyeater is an active bird, and rarely sits still long enough to give an extended view. 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.

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.

New Holland Honeyeaters breed at any time of the year, but most activity takes place in summer and winter. The 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. The two to three eggs hatch after about 18 days and the young leave the nest after a further 16 days. Both sexes feed the chicks. Owing to the long breeding season, a pair of adults may raise two or three broods in a year.

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