Crescent Honeyeater

Did you know?

Crescent Honeyeaters show long-term fidelity to breeding sites over several years, with some birds found close to the territory where they themselves hatched.

Loud 'egypt' or 'eejik' calls; males have melodic song.
Facts and Figures
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Breeding season: 
July to March
Clutch Size: 
1 to 3 eggs, usually 2
13 days
Nestling Period: 
13 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The Crescent Honeyeater is a medium to small honeyeater with a long down-curved bill and a red-brown eye. Males are dark grey above with yellow wing patches, a white streak above the eye and a distinctive dark crescent across each side of the breast, outlined below with a white line. The rest of the underparts are a pale brown grey to white, with prominent white markings on the tail. Females are smaller and are olive brown above, with an olive brown crescent on each side of the breast, white to brown grey underparts, and olive yellow wing patches. Young birds resemble adults, but lack strong breast markings.

Similar species: 

The Crescent Honeyeater is usually easily distinguished by the dark crescents on its breast and its yellow wing patches, as well as its distinctive calls. In flight, adult males may be mistaken for the New Holland HoneyeaterP. novaehollandiae, or the White-cheeked HoneyeaterP. nigris, but these species are heavily streaked black and white below, have white head and face markings and lack the breast crescents. Females might appear similar in colour or shape to the Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, P. melanops, but lack this species' bold dark face and shoulder markings and do not share the same habitat.

Where does it live?

The Crescent Honeyeater is endemic to south-eastern Australia, being found southwards from the mid-north coast and central tablelands of New South Wales, along the coast and ranges to eastern and south-eastern Victoria, west to the Mount Lofty Ranges and Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia and is widespread on Kangaroo Island. It is found on the Bass Strait islands, King Island and in the Furneaux and Kent Groups, and is widespread in Tasmania, except in the north-east, where it tends to be more sparsely distributed.


The Crescent Honeyeater is found in a variety of habitats, from coastal heaths, wet sclerophyll forests to mountain forests. It is often found in damp gullies or in thick tea-tree scrub and is rarely recorded in semi-arid areas. Will be seen in urban parks and gardens, especially during autumn and winter in coastal areas, and is sometimes found in pine plantations.

Seasonal movements: 

Partially resident and partially migratory, sometimes in response to nectar availability. Often found at lower altitudes during autumn and winter in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, being more commonly recorded in Sydney and Canberra gardens at these times. In Tasmania, it is also more common around lowland and coastal areas, such as around Hobart, during autumn and winter.

What does it do?

The Crescent Honeyeater feeds on nectar, fruit and insects, foraging mainly on understorey shrubs. Usually feeds in pairs, but may be seen feeding in small flocks.


Crescent Honeyeaters form long-term pair bonds, staying together throughout the year. Pairs nest on their own or in loose colonies. Males defend territories, which are all-purpose (feeding and breeding) throughout the year, becoming more active and vocal during the breeding season. The female builds the nest alone, in a well-concealed position, usually low in the centre of a shrub and often near water. The bulky cup-shaped nest is made from bark, grass, twigs, roots and other plant materials, lined with grass, down, moss and animal fur or hair. The female alone incubates the eggs and broods the young but both sexes feed the nestlings and may continue to feed fledglings for up to two weeks after leaving the nest.

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