Regent Honeyeater

Did you know?

The Regent Honeyeater has become a 'flagship species' for conservation issues in the box-ironbark forest region of Victoria and New South Wales. 

Birds Australia is helping to conserve Regent Honeyeaters as part of its Woodland Birds for Biodiversity project. To find out more or get involved go to the WBFB project page.

Quiet, melodious calls; can mimic larger honeyeaters such as wattlebirds and friarbirds.
Facts and Figures
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Breeding season: 
August to January
Clutch Size: 
2 to 3
Conservation Status
Associated Plants
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The striking Regent Honeyeater has a black head, neck and upper breast, a lemon yellow back and breast scaled black, with the underparts grading into a white rump, black wings with conspicuous yellow patches, and a black tail edged yellow. In males, the dark eye is surrounded by yellowish warty bare skin. Females are smaller, with a bare yellowish patch under the eye only, and have less black on the throat. Young birds resemble females, but are browner and have a paler bill. This species is gregarious, moving in flocks. It bobs its head when calling.

Similar species: 

The Regent Honeyeater might be confused with the smaller (16 cm - 18 cm) black and white White-fronted Honeyeater, Phylidonyris albifrons, but should be readily distinguished by its warty, yellowish eye skin, its strongly scalloped, rather than streaked, patterning, especially on the back, and its yellow-edged, black tail.

Where does it live?

Formerly more widely distributed in south-eastern mainland Australia from Rockhampton, Queensland to Adelaide, South Australia, the Regent Honeyeater is now confined to Victoria and New South Wales, and is strongly associated with the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range.


The Regent Honeyeater is found in eucalypt forests and woodlands, particularly in blossoming trees and mistletoe. It is also seen in orchards and urban gardens.

Seasonal movements: 

Strongly nomadic, following blossoming trees.

What does it do?

The Regent Honeyeater feeds mainly on nectar and other plant sugars. It can also feed on insects and spiders, as well as native and cultivated fruits. It forages in flowers or foliage, but sometimes comes down to the ground to bathe in puddles or pools, and may also hawk for insects on the wing.


The Regent Honeyeater breeds in individual pairs or, sometimes, in loose colonies, with the female incubating the eggs and both sexes feeding the young. The cup-shaped nest is thickly constructed from bark, lined with soft material, and is placed in a tree fork 1 m to 20 m from the ground.

Living with us

The Regent Honeyeater has been badly affected by land-clearing, with the clearance of the most fertile stands of nectar-producing trees and the poor health of many remnants, as well as competition for nectar from other honeyeaters, being the major problems. It is listed federally as an endangered species. At the state level, it is listed as endangered in Queensland and New South Wales, while in Victoria it is listed as threatened.

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