Wednesday, 5 September 2012

White-plumed honeyeater

Lichenostomus penicillatus

(Photo from PBase)

Common name:
white-plumed honeyeater (en); melífago-de-colar (pt); méliphage serti (fr); mielero empenachado (es); weißbürzel-honigfresser (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Meliphagidae

This species is endemic to Australia, being throughout the country except in the tropical north, Cape York Peninsula and the most arid areas.

White-plumed honeyeaters are 15-17 cm long and weigh around 20 g.

They are mainly found in open forests and woodlands, often near water and wetlands, showing a preference for areas with river red gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis. They are also found in dry scrublands, rural gardens and within urban areas.

White-plumed honeyeaters eat nectar, insects and their products such as lerps and honeydew, manna and fruits, and occasionally some seeds.

These birds can breed all year round, but mostly in August-December. The nest is a small cup woven by the female from grass and spider web and lined with wool, hair or feathers. It is placed in the crown of a tree 1-20 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-4 ground colour or pink eggs with reddish spots, which she incubates alone for 10-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 12-14 days after hatching. Each pair raises 2-3 clutches per year.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. This population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat degradation through the removal of trees along creeks and predation by domestic mammals. However, the white-plumed honeyeater is very adaptable to urban environments and not considered threatened at present.

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