Singing Honeyeater

Did you know?

In Western Australia it can be common to have a male Singing Honeyeater every 50 m along a suburban street, with each male's territory centred around a flowering food source.

Calls
A large range of clear, noisy calls, usually lively and melodious: 'prrip, prrip'. Dawn choruses may last for an hour, starting before sunrise.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
17cm
Maximum Size: 
24cm
Average size: 
19cm
Average weight: 
26g
Breeding season: 
August to November near coast, otherwise variable.
Clutch Size: 
1 to 3 eggs, usually 2
Incubation: 
13 days
Nestling Period: 
13 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
QLD: 
SA: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Associated Plants
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
608
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Singing Honeyeater has a plain grey-brown upperbody, a distinctive black streak through the eye from the bill to the neck, bordered by a yellow streak below the eye grading into a white throat, and a white to grey underbody streaked dark grey-brown. There is a small, inconspicuous white ear-tuft, usually hidden by the yellow ear coverts (feathers). The bill is black and the eye is dark brown. Young birds are similar to adults, with a lighter forehead and crown and a narrower, duller face marking. This widely-distributed species is known for its pleasant voice and is usually seen in small noisy groups of five or six birds.

Similar species: 

Within its habitat, the Singing Honeyeater may be mistaken for the Purple-gaped Honeyeater, L. cratitius, or the Grey-headed Honeyeater, L. keartlandi. It differs from the former by having a longer black face streak, white on its throat and chest, and streaked underparts. It differs from the latter by being larger and having white on its face and no obvious yellow plume at the end of its face mask. Two other species that share the Singing Honeyeater's black, yellow and white face markings do not share its habitat or range: the Mangrove Honeyeater, L. fasciogularis, and the Varied Honeyeater, L. versicolor.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Singing Honeyeater is widespread on mainland Australia. It is found west of the Great Dividing Range from Queensland through to New South Wales, but is rare around Canberra or on the eastern slopes of New South Wales. It is widespread in western Victoria and in all regions of South Australia, except the Mt Lofty Ranges. Widespread in Western Australia except for the extreme south-west or northern Kimberley region, and not common in the Top End but otherwise widespread in the Northern Territory. Also found on Groote Eylandt and Sir Edward Pellew Islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Habitat: 

The Singing Honeyeater is found mostly in open shrublands and low woodlands, especially dominated by acacias. It is also be found in swamplands, along creeks and drainage channels. It is often seen in urban parks and gardens and around farmyards, particularly in south-west Western Australia. It is also found in partly cleared lands with remnant woodlands and has been seen in plantations and in African Boxthorn thickets or isolated shrubs.

Seasonal movements: 

Resident or sedentary throughout range, with local movements only.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Singing Honeyeater feeds on nectar, insects and fruit. It forages in low shrubs or on the ground, usually alone, but sometimes in loose flocks. It feeds at lower levels than most other honeyeaters

Breeding: 

The Singing Honeyeater forms monogamous pairs, with some long-term bonds. The open, often flimsy cup-nest is formed from matted grasses and lined with roots, wool or other mammal hairs. It has once been observed nesting in the top 'false nest' cup of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill nest while the lower nest chamber was occupied. The female incubates the eggs alone but both adults feed the young. This species is parasitised by the Pallid Cuckoo.

Living with us

The Singing Honeyeater may have benefited from land-clearing and fragmentation in southern Western Australia and is readily able to fly over open agricultural lands. It has been implicated in the spread of the noxious weed Bridal Creeper, Asparagus medeoloides.

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