Painted Honeyeater

Did you know?

Male Painted Honeyeaters give display flights during breeding season, flying steeply upwards from a high perch then descending quickly to another tree, singing the whole time. These flights help the males advertise their territory, attract a mate and repel other males.

Main call is loud whistled 'georgie-georgie...'. Other calls include a throaty 'chur' at the nest and plaintive alarm calls.
Facts and Figures
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Breeding season: 
August to February in north, October to February in south.
Clutch Size: 
Usually 2, sometimes 1 or 3
13 days
Nestling Period: 
20 days
Conservation Status
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Plants associated with this species
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The Painted Honeyeater is a medium-sized honeyeater with a relatively short beak and tail, and is particularly found in association with mistletoe. Males are black above with bright yellow wing panels and upper tail, and have white underparts with some black streaks on the flanks. The bill is pink. Females and young birds are duller and lack streaks. This species is sometimes called a Georgie, from the sound of its calls.

Similar species: 

Although similar in size and colour to the White-cheeked Honeyeater,Phylidonyris nigra, and the New Holland HoneyeaterP. novaehollandiae, the Painted Honeyeater is plumper with a much shorter tail, and is the only yellow-winged honeyeater with almost completely white underparts.

Where does it live?

The Painted Honeyeater is endemic to mainland Australia, being found in Queensland and New South Wales west of the Great Dividing Range, through to northern Victoria. It is also found occasionally in the Northern Territory and may be a vagrant to South Australia. It is rare throughout its range.


The Painted Honeyeater is found in dry open forests and woodlands, and is strongly associated with mistletoe. It may also be found along rivers, on plains with scattered trees and on farmland with remnant vegetation. It has been seen in urban parks and gardens where large eucalypts are available.

Seasonal movements: 

Some north-south migratory movements have been reported for the Painted Honeyeater. It is considered a non-breeding winter migrant in the north of its range, above 26° S, and a breeding spring to summer visitor in areas south of this latitude. Movements are also linked to the fruiting of mistletoe.

What does it do?

The Painted Honeyeater feeds mainly on the fruit of mistletoe,Amyema species, but will also feed on nectar and invertebrates, usually in eucalypts. This species feeds singly, in pairs or in small groups of up to six birds.


The Painted Honeyeater breed in loose colonies, forming pair bonds for the duration of the breeding season. In some areas, the same nest or tree may be re-used over several years. Breeding males vigorously defend a breeding territory from other males and occasionally other species such as the Mistletoebird. Both sexes build the thin, cup-shaped nest from grass and fine roots bound with spiderweb. The eggs and young are tended by both sexes, and fledglings may be fed for some time before they disperse. Two broods may be raised in the same breeding season. Eggs are sometimes taken by Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters.

Living with us

The Painted Honeyeater is considered rare throughout its range. It is listed as rare in Queensland and South Australia, and as vulnerable inNew South Wales and Victoria. Populations have declined over a long period, with declines speeded by land-clearing and grazing. However, in some areas this species may benefit from the increase of mistletoe in degraded woodlands.

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