- Colour: dark grey-brown above with some brown streaking. It is paler below with lighter streaks and has a slightly down-curved bill.
- Distinctive feature: a broad yellow facial stripe across its eye which is bordered with black.
- Young birds are paler.
- Size: 15 – 17.5 cm.
- Call: a loud, cheerful series of 'chick-up' notes.
- Diet: nectar, pollen, fruit, seeds, insects, lerps and honeydew. It forages at the flowers and among the foliage of trees and shrubs.
- Movement: a partial migrant with regular movements to and from south-eastern Australia. Large flocks can be seen moving north in autumn and south in spring.
- Breeding: the female builds a neat nest, usually woven from grass and often bound with spider webs, but may also incorporate bark, lichen and plant stems, and placed in the understory of forests, usually in shrubs or small trees. Two to three eggs are laid, and these are incubated by the female for 14 days. Both parents feed the young and actively defend their territory during the breeding season. Its nest is sometimes parasitised by cuckoos.
What to Observe
- Bird on chicks
- Bird on eggs
- Bird on nest
- Bird feeding young
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
The effects of climate change may influence a change in the timing of migrational movements by Yellow-faced Honeyeaters. It may also affect the timing of when they start to breed and the duration of their breeding activities. Help scientists answer the question: "How are our animals, plants and ecosystems responding to climate change?" by recording the observations above.
When To Look
- Breeding commonly occurs between July and March.
- During autumn and winter, look for migratory birds that have moved northwards or into lowland areas.
- Young birds remain in the nest for 11–14 days.
Where To Look
- In open forests and woodlands, and often in urban areas including parks and gardens, and remnant patches of bushland.
- It is widespread in eastern and south-eastern mainland Australia, from northern Queensland south to southern Victoria, and west into eastern South Australia. There have also been a few records on islands in Bass Strait.
Higgins PJ, Peter JM and Steele WK (eds) 2001. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Volume 5 (Tyrant-flycatchers to Chats). Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
Longmore NW 1991. The Honeyeaters and their Allies of Australia. Angus and Robertson and The National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.
Morcombe M 2000. Field guide to Australian Birds. Steve Parish Publishing.
- Singing, Varied, Mangrove, Bridled and Eungella Honeyeaters all have superficially similar facial patterns, but the Yellow-faced Honeyeater is smaller than them all, and its yellow facial stripe appears to run through the eye rather than below it.
Did You Know?
The call recording is by David Stewart Naturesound
Its nest is sometimes parasitised by Shining and Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoos, as well as the Fan-tailed, Brush and Pallid Cuckoos.
It occasionally damages fruit in gardens and orchards.
Its average weight is 17 grams.
It depends on tall, mature trees across its migratory regions and is vulnerable to the effects of land clearing.
Listen to the Call