Strongbilled honeyeater

Melithreptus validirostris

TAXONOMY

Haematops validirostris Gould, 1837, Tasmania.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Black-capped honeyeater; French: Méliphage a bec fort; German: Starkschnabel-Honigfresser; Spanish: Pájaro Miel Picudo.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

6 in (15 cm); 0.9 oz (25 g). Black head and chin with white band from eye to nape. White throat and buff belly with dull olive-brown upperparts.

DISTRIBUTION

Endemic to Tasmania, including King, Flinders, and Cape Barren Islands.

HABITAT

Eucalyptus forests, especially wet gullies, but also in dry forest, sometimes in cool temperate rainforest, and occasionally coastal heathland, parks, and gardens.

BEHAVIOR

In pairs, family groups, or small flocks. Sometimes noisy and aggressive. Emit cheeping and churring calls. Sedentary, although exhibit local movements.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forage on bark more than most honeyeaters do, probing into rough or peeling bark on trunks and branches of eucalyptus. Use long, sturdy bill to flake, lever, or tear off pieces or strips of bark to catch insects and spiders. Less commonly feed on nectar.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Poorly known, but nests found from July to January. They suspend a nest in eucalyptus or tea-tree foliage. Usually lay three eggs that are incubated by both parents. Incubation and nestling periods not known. Probably cooperative breeders.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

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