Yellow-plumed Honeyeater

Did you know?

Groups of Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters may take part in 'corroborrees', where individuals perform wing-fluttering displays and call. Groups may also band together to repel intruders from their own and other bird species, fighting to the point of falling to the ground.

Calls
Loud, ringing 'chick-o'wee'; far-carrying alarm chirps and trills.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
14cm
Maximum Size: 
18cm
Average size: 
16cm
Average weight: 
17g
Breeding season: 
July to January
Clutch Size: 
One to three, usually two.
Incubation: 
12 days
Nestling Period: 
12 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
SA: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Associated Plants
Plants associated with this species
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
622
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Yellow-plumed Honeyeater is a medium-sized honeyeater with a relatively long, down-curved black bill, a dark face and a distinctive, upswept yellow neck plume. It has a olive-green head, with a faint yellow line under the dark eye, grey-green upperparts, and heavily streaked grey-brown underparts. Young birds have a yellow bill base and eye-ring. This species is noisy and quarrelsome, moving in small groups and fighting off intruders. It is also known as the Graceful Honeyeater or Mallee Honeyeater.

Similar species: 

The Yellow-plumed Honeyeater may be confused with the related Grey-fronted Honeyeater, L. plumulus. It can be distinguished by its lack of a black face mask or eye-stripe and the only partial bordering of its neck plume by a black line. It also tends to be more heavily streaked below. The other similar species, the Fuscous HoneyeaterL. fuscus, has a much smaller neck plume and plain underparts.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Yellow-plumed Honeyeater is endemic to southern mainland Australia, from western New South Wales and Victoria, through South Australia to south-west Western Australia.

Habitat: 

The Yellow-plumed Honeyeater is found in mallee and open woodlands of the temperate and semi-arid zones. It is mainly found in inland areas, but is also found on the coast of South Australia and Western Australia where mallee is found. It is also found in freshwater wetland areas.

Seasonal movements: 

Resident with some local movements in relation to food supply.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Yellow-plumed Honeyeater feeds on insects, lerps and nectar. It forages in the outer canopy of low trees and shrubs as well on the trunks and branches. It will sometimes forage on the ground. It feeds in pairs or small flocks.

Breeding: 

The Yellow-plumed Honeyeater nests in loose colonies or singly, with aggressive defence of the nesting territory by the males, with some evidence that groups of birds hold territories together, and will repel intruders as a group. The open, cup-shaped nest is suspended by the rim from a thin fork or from foliage of mallee eucalypts and other small shrubs. It is made from wool, green grass and spider-webs, lined with wool, grasses, plant-down and brightly-coloured feathers. Both parents feed the young, sometimes with the assistance of helpers. This species is parasitised by Fan-tailed CuckoosPallid Cuckoos,Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoos and Shining Bronze-Cuckoos.

Living with us

The range of the Yellow-plumed Honeyeater has been severely contracted by the destruction and loss of its mallee habitat. It was common earlier in the 20th Century in the wheatbelt of Western Australia, but is now only found there in small populations in remnant woodlands. This species needs the most productive (i.e. with abundant food resources) habitats in a region, but these are the ones usually chosen for clearing, and remnants do not contain enough productive habitat for populations to remain sustainable.

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