Honeyeaters occur in subalpine scrub in New Guinea, through all forest types to the mangroves. In Australia three species are largely restricted to mangroves. It is not uncommon to find ten or more species at a location in forests and coastal heathlands. Woodlands, mallee, and other semi-arid scrubs can also be rich in species. Within forests and woodlands, most species occupy the canopy, with some of the more nectarivorous species feeding more in the shrub layer. Most of the Wallacean and Pacific island honeyeaters are found in rainforest or monsoonal woodland. Honeyeaters in many parts of their range have successfully colonized suburban areas, especially where native vegetation remains or has been replanted. African sugarbirds occupy fynbos (equivalent to coastal Australian heaths), which are dominated by the Pro-teaceae.

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