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Noisy Friarbird

(Philemon corniculatus)
Alternate name(s): "(Knobby-nose) Leatherhead", "Monk", "Four-o'-clock Pimlico", "Poor Soldier"
Aboriginal name(s): "gulgorah"; "monachus": "dhaguway" [yuwaalaraay]; "currabubula" [gamilaraay]

Size: 30-35 cm
Weight: 115 g (average)

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 Noisy Friarbird at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information


Race "monachus"

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


Oi mate, you lookin' at me? Nosy Noisy Friarbird...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

The same Noisy Friarbird as above, different posture
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Near-frontal view of a Noisy Friarbird (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

This photo illustrates why Noisy Friarbirds got their nickname, "Leatherhead"
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Here some Noisy Friarbird acrobatics...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2007]

Noisy Friarbird issuing its call; one can see how the neck feathers are spread like a collar
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2011]

Noisy Friarbird issuing its call; different posture
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2011]

More lateral view of a Noisy Friarbird calling
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2012]

Interesting detail: one can look straight through a Noisy Friarbird's nostrils
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2007]

Dorsal view of a Noisy Friarbird on the ground (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Durikai SF, near Warwick, QLD, August 2017]

Here a Noisy Friarbird preening; again one can look straight through the bird's nostrils (photo courtesy of C. Kellenberg)

Noisy Friarbird taking off from a grevillea flower (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, August 2014]

If in spring or autumn you see a flock of 20-50 of these birds passing by over your head (notably silent!), it could be Noisy Friarbirds relocating to where there is nectar to be found
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]


Frontal view of an immature Noisy Friarbird; note the tiny casque and the feathers at the back of the head (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, Ocotober 2013]

Lateral view of an immature Noisy Friarbird (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, Ocotober 2013]

Moulting young Noisy Friarbird
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2008]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jul - Jan Eggs: 2 - 4 Incubation period: 17 days Fledging age: 20 days


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

Type: (Hanging) basket Material: Bark strips and grass, lined with fine grass and wool Height above ground: 2 - 20 m

Additional information

A. Morris and S. Grey report that some bird species, most notably Leaden Flycatchers, like to take advantage of the protection offered by nesting under a Noisy Friarbird nest. There is now a separate page about various bird species nesting under the umbrella of a stronger, protective species.

Noisy Friarbird nest in a eucalypt tree
[Near Narrabri, NSW, October 2014]

Noisy Friarbird bringing nesting material to its almost complete nest
[Glacial Valley near Rocky Creek, NSW, September 2008]

The inside still requires some improvements
[Glacial Valley near Rocky Creek, NSW, September 2008]


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

Size: 35 x 24 mm Colour: Creamy, with brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval


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

Noisy Friarbirds are the most aggressive nectar-eating species in Australia. Although territorial, they congregate in large numbers where there is food to be found. Especially when the seasons change and nectar-eating species need to move to find flowering trees, Noisy Friarbirds can be seen "raiding" trees in groups of up to 50 birds.

Noisy Friarbirds are very aggressive, not only amongst each other, but also towards other competitors for food; here a disagreement between Noisy Friarbirds about who gets to feed first in a flowering tree
[Near Narrabri, NSW, March 2013]

Food, Diet

Like many other honeyeaters, Noisy Friarbirds do not exclusively feed on nectar, but use their sticky tongue to take insects too. Known to feed on fruit as well.

Noisy Friarbird feeding on the nectar of a Bottlebrush flower
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Noisy Friarbird feasting in a Lemon-scented gumtree (eucalypt)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2014]

Noisy Friarbird feeding in a Grevillea (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, May 2013]

Noisy Friarbird feeding in a clump of Mistletoe
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Noisy Friarbird feeding on nectar in a garden (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead, QLD, February 2017]

Noisy Friarbird devouring a large insect, possibly a cicada
[Warrumbungle NP, NSW, December 2012]

Noisy Friarbird taking a cicada (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, December 2012]


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.

noifriar_20170810.m4a monachus
Contact call © MD
noifriar_art_20131231.mp3 monachus
Contact calls © ART
noifriar_20140416.mp3 monachus
Contact call © MD
noifriar_20141018_5.mp3 monachus
Contact calls © MD
noifriar_art_20131125.mp3 monachus
Territorial calls © ART
noifriar_20140409.mp3 monachus
Abbreviated territorial call? © MD
noifriar_20150920.mp3 monachus
Q&A © MD
noifriar_20141218_2.mp3 monachus
Territorial calls? (break of dawn) © MD
noifriar_20140127.mp3 monachus
Defending food source © MD
noifriar_20151016.mp3 monachus
Fending off competitor © MD
noifriar_20140423.mp3 monachus
Annoyed call (with Galah) © MD
noifriar_20141018_2.mp3 monachus
Annoyed call(?) © MD
noifriar_20140502_5.mp3 monachus
Stand-off (with Olive-backed Oriole) © MD
noifriar_20141018_4.mp3 monachus
Shut up by Galahs © MD
noifriar_art_20131120.mp3 monachus
Feeding call? © ART
noifriar_20150529.mp3 monachus
"Currabulula" call © MD
noifriar_20140324.mp3 monachus
? © MD
noifriar_20140328_2.mp3 monachus
? © MD
noifriar_20141018_2.mp3 monachus
? © 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.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.