Scientific names: Melithreptus gularis, M. g. laetior

Status

  • Queensland: Least concern (NCA 1992)

What does it look like?

Averaging 17cm in length, the black-chinned honeyeater is one of largest honeyeaters. This bird has a black ‘cap’ which intersects with a white crescent around the nape of the neck. It also has a distinctive black ‘chin’ beneath the bill extending down the white throat, and dull olive-green and white wings with a grey tint on the underside.

Where is it found?

There are two subspecies of the black-chinned honeyeater. M. g. laetior is found in Northern Australia between Queensland and Western Australia, while its subspecies M. g. gularis is mostly found in New South Wales, with very few specimens having been observed in Queensland.

The black-chinned honeyeater mostly lives in the canopy of dry eucalypt forests and woodlands. The bird mainly builds its nest from bark fibres, woven with hair, wool or fur and matted into a thick, hairy 'felt'. Nests are compact, cup-shaped and usually sit high in the crown of a tree, hidden by foliage and slung by the rim from the outer leaves of a branch.

Black-chinned honeyeaters breed cooperatively, with up to four adults helping females feed the young. The female and her helpers build the nest. The female incubates the eggs with helpers and the male helps tend to the young.

Diet mainly consists of insects and nectar from flowers and honeydew. The black-chinned honeyeater usually forages in the upper canopy on the outermost flowers and foliage, and is generally seen in groups of up to 12 birds.

What is threatening them?

  • Human developments
  • Intense grazing
  • Competition with smaller aggressive species.

Conservation

The black-chinned honeyeater is protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. It is an offence to hurt or interfere with the black-chinned honeyeater in any other way than when accepted by the Act.

Redland City Council manages environmental pests throughout the Redlands to minimise their impact on native ecosystems and animals such as the black-chinned honeyeater.

Did you know...?

Males can become aggressive and agitated during breeding season, attacking other black-chinned honeyeaters and other species in order to defend their breeding territory.

On the other hand, black-chinned honeyeaters are known to associate with other honeyeaters, working together to search for food and watching for predators.

How you can help

If you have seen or suspect the black-chinned honeyeater at any location, please report it to IndigiScapes on (07) 3824 8611.