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18

Brown Honeyeater

(Lichmera indistincta)
Alternate name(s): "Least Honeyeater"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "indistincta": "djindjoko", "kyeet" (WA)

Size: 12-16 cm; wing span 18-23 cm
Weight: 9-11 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Brown Honeyeater at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "indistincta"

ADULT

MALE

Lateral view of a male Brown Honeyeater feeding on nectar (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Balingup, WA, May 2016]

Dorsal view of a male Brown Honeyeater
[Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Despite the bad light one can see how this male Brown Honeyeater sticks its tongue into a small flower
[Darwin, NT, August 2014]

FEMALE

Lateral view of a female Brown Honeyeater (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Ivanhoe Crossing, Kununurra, WA, January 2016]

Lateral view of a female Brown Honeyeater
[Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Race "ocularis"

Not the photos you want? Or are you after even better quality? Have a look here .

ADULT

MALE

Upright frontal view of a male Brown Honeyeater in brilliant sunlight
[Near Narrabri, NSW, October 2010]

Frontal view of a male Brown Honeyeater in its little hideaway
[Narrabri Lake, May 2012]

Here a male Brown Honeyeater seen in a different posture
[Narrabri Lake, September 2011]

Full-frontal view of a male Brown Honeyeater calling (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, September 2013]

Near-lateral view of a male Brown Honeyeater (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Cairns, QLD, July 2013]

Lateral view of a male Brown Honeyeater
[Narrabri Lake, September 2011]

Lateral view of a male Brown Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, July 2011]

Male Brown Honeyeater straight out of the bathtub (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, September 2013]

Near-dorsal view of a male Brown Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2011]

Male Brown Honeyeater launching itself into the air from a Banksia flower (photo courtesy of I. Duncan)
[South West Rocks, NSW, September 2012]

Lateral view of a male Brown Honeyeater in flight
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2014]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Brown Honeyeater; note the pale-yellow gape in the breeding season
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]

Frontal view of a female Brown Honeyeater flapping its wings to dry them after a bath
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, September 2007]

This Brown Honeyeater is going into all kinds of contortions to dry its plumage
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, December 2011]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of an immature Brown Honeyeater seen on a perch approaching a water puddle where it subsequently took a bath; note the yellow gape, absence of ear tuft and staggered length of the tail feathers
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, March 2007]

Immature Brown Honeyeater issuing its call
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, March 2008]

Immature Brown Honeyeater seen cocking its tail
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, April 2011]

Race "melvillensis"

ADULT

FEMALE

Lateral view of a female Brown Honeyeater (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Maxwell Creek, Melville Island, off Darwin, NT, November 2016]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jun - Jan Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: ca. 11 days Fledging age: 12 - 14 days

The breeding season varies with geographical latitude. In the tropical north it runs from about April to November.

Nest building: ? Incubation: Female Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Hanging basket Material: Bark shreds, grass stems, webs; plant down lining Height above ground: 1 - 5 m

Female Brown Honeyeater sitting on its nest (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Maules Creek, NSW, October 2012]

View from above into the nest of a pair of Brown Honeyeaters, with two half-naked chicks inside; the key tag gives an indication of the size of nest and chicks (photo courtesy of R. Shepherd)
[Bundaberg, QLD, October 2015]

Female Brown Honeyeater with what looks like nesting material (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, May 2013]

Female Brown Honeyeater "harvesting" cob webs for binding the nest (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, August 2013]

We once observed a Brown Honeyeater pulling sheep wool from a barbed wire fence to line its nest.

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 17 x 14 mm Colour: Creamy Shape: Tapered oval

View from above onto Brown Honeyeater eggs (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Maules Creek, NSW, October 2012]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Dispersive Elementary unit: Solitary/pair

Brown Honeyeaters can feed while hovering (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, August 2012]

Food, Diet

Like many other honeyeaters, Brown Honeyeaters do not exclusively feed on nectar, but take insects too. This is one of the honeyeaters that will feed mostly on nectar. Often seen by us in various kinds of eucalypt, e.g. mugga ironbark and citriodora. They profit from the creation of urban gardens and parks.

Brown Honeyeater feeding on the nectar of a eucalypt's blossoms
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2011]

Male Brown Honeyeater feeding on the nectar of an ironbark eucalypt flower
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2008]

Male Brown Honeyeater feeding in a bottlebrush tree (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Maules Creek, NSW, October 2012]

Male Brown Honeyeater feeding in a bottlebrush tree (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Maules Creek, NSW, October 2012]

Male Brown Honeyeater feeding in a Mistletoe
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, March 2013]

Female Brown Honeyeater feeding in a Grevillea robusta
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, March 2013]

Female Brown Honeyeater feeding in a Grevillea (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, July 2013]

Male Brown Honeyeater feeding on the nectar of a Strelitzia flower (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, August 2012]

Male Brown Honeyeater taking unripe seeds of a bottlebrush (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, October 2011]

Male Brown Honeyeater drinking from a pond; the birds drink in quick, small sips and do not dip their bills as deep into the water as other species
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2009]

Brown Honeyeater shooting out of a tree to take a moth (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, August 2013]

This Brown Honeyeater was observed by us hawking for insects some 20 or 30 m up in the air
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, October 2015]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

brhon_20140918_2.mp3 ocularis
(NW NSW)
Territorial call © MD
brhon_art_20131106_2.mp3 ocularis
(SE QLD)
Territorial calls © ART
brhon_20161026.mp3 ocularis
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls (Q&A) © MD
brhon_20140416.mp3 ocularis
(NW NSW)
Feeding call © MD
brhon_art_20131110.mp3 ocularis
(SE QLD)
Feeding calls © ART
brhon_20140722.mp3 ocularis
(NW NSW)
Annoyed call © MD
brhon_20140107_2.mp3 ocularis
(NW NSW)
Defending food source © MD
brhon_20140911.mp3 ocularis
(NW NSW)
? © MD
 
brhon_20140817.mp3 indistincta
(Darwin, NT)
Territorial calls © MD
brhon_20140818_2.mp3 indistincta
(Darwin, NT)
Q&A © MD
brhon_20140818_4.mp3 indistincta
(Darwin, NT)
Q&A © MD
brhon_20140818_3.mp3 indistincta
(Darwin, NT)
? © MD
brhon_20140818.mp3 indistincta
(Darwin, NT)
? © MD
Click here for more recordings

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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