- Colour: dark olive-brown on its upperparts. Its underparts are paler olive-grey, sometimes with faint, darker streaks. It has a pale to bright-yellow ear patch and a yellow line running from its beak to below its eye. Its legs, feet and eyes are brown and its beak is brown to black.
- Size: 16 – 20 cm.
- Call: a rattling song consisting of four to five “ee-yeu” repetitions. Also produces a melodious “chip” sound.
- Diet: a range of insects which it catches on the wing, as well as fruit and nectar.
- Flight: swift and direct.
- Breeding: the female lays two or three eggs in a deep, cup-shaped nest made of strips of bark and plant fibres. She incubates them for about 15 days, then both parents feed the young birds until they leave the nest at 14 or 15 days old.
What to Observe
- Courting / mating
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
The Yellow-spotted Honeyeater may lose more of its already restricted habitat if predicted higher temperatures and lower rainfall occur due to climate change.
When To Look
- From July to March.
- Breeding commonly occurs between August and January.
Where To Look
- It is confined to the Wet Tropics of north Queensland within Australia.
- In tropical rainforests or in woodland at the margins of rainforest, usually above 200 m in elevation.
- Look on the ground to see it feeding, or on nearby tree branches. Nests might be in forks of small trees.
Boles WE 1988. The Robins and Flycatchers of Australia. Angus and Robertson and The National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.
Higgins PJ and Peter JM (eds) 2002. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 6. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
- Lewin’s Honeyeater (Meliphaga lewinii): is larger (19 – 22 cm) with a crescent-shaped ear patch and a more rapid song. Its range overlaps only in the Wet Tropics of north-eastern Queensland.
- Graceful Honeyeater (Meliphaga gracilis): is smaller (15 – 17 cm), lighter in colour, has a longer and more slender bill, and a larger, elongated yellow ear patch.
- Another honeyeater: won’t have the yellow ear patch with yellow line running from its beak to below its eye.
Did You Know?
It is sometimes referred to as the “Lesser Lewin”, referring to the similar Lewin’s Honeyeater.
Although honeyeaters may look and behave like some other nectar-feeding birds such as sunbirds and flowerpeckers, they are unrelated to them.