White-naped Honeyeater

The White-naped Honeyeater (Melithreptus lunatus), is a passerine bird of the Honeyeater family Meliphagidae. It is native to eastern and south-western Australia. It dwells in dry sclerophyll eucalypt woodland. There are two recognized subspecies.

A mid-sized honeyeater at 5-6 inches in length, it is olive-green above and white below, with a black head, nape and throat and a red (eastern) or white (western) patch over the eye and a white crescent-shaped patch on the nape. Juveniles have brownish crowns and an orange base of bill.

White-naped honeyeaters may nest from July to December, breeding once or twice during this time. The nest is a thick-walled bowl of grasses and bits of bark in the fork of a tall tree, usually a eucalypt. Two or three shiny buff-pink sparsely spotted with red-brown eggs are laid. Its diet is principally nectar from a variety of flowers supplemented by insects and various other invertebrates.

It was originally described as Certhia lunata by French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1802. The specific name is derived from the Latin luna, meaning “moon”; this refers to its crescent-shaped white marking on its nape.

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