Another winter honeyeater

A visit to the waterhole on Mia Mia track today was notable for the profusion of honeyeaters – Fuscous, Yellow-faced, White-naped, Black-chinned, and of course, Yellow-tufted bossing all others about.

Fuscousatdam

Fuscous Honeyeater, Mia Mia Track, 22nd June 2014.

The highlight was spotting a White-eared Honeyeater Lichenostomus leucotis. Another altitudinal migrant that graces our woodlands during the cooler months, this species tends to be quite solitary, visiting the local area from about May through August. They feed largely on insects, using their strong bill to prise under strips of bark in search of prey.

WEHE1

White-eared Honeyeater approaching the waterhole, Mia Mia Track, 22nd June 2014.

Although of similar size and bulk to the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, they are less aggressive and this individual was chased from the waterhole a number of times during my visit.

WEHE2

The large, white cheek patch is a distinguishing feature.

WEHE3

About the same size as a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, White-eared Honeyeaters tend to be solitary when visiting the box-ironbark country.

Postscript: A number of local correspondents have contacted me to note that White-eared Honeyeaters are either breeding residents, or at least seen throughout the year in the Castlemaine district. While my own local observations suggest they are only seen in the autumn and winter, I’ll now keep a closer note on future sightings. I’d be interested in further thoughts on movement patterns and seasonal occurrences of the White-eared Honeyeater.

3 responses to “Another winter honeyeater

  1. My experience is that we have White-eared Honeyeaters all year round here in the Muckleford Forest! Never very many at once (maximum of 3 seen at once ever but usually only one) and not seen every week, but certainly scattered throughout the year.

  2. White-eared Honeyeaters are the only resident (and breeding) honeyeaters at my place in the Chewton Bushlands.

  3. Hi Geoff, around Junortoun the White-eared honey eaters seem to be around all year feeding on the blossoms of grevilias etc in spring and looking for insects too. Cheers

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