Aust birds    Bird names   News   1-26    Habitats    Key plants    Glossary    Plumage    Nests    Tips    Thumbnails    Gen. info    Sponsors    Photos for sale   
NON-PASSERINES     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10     11     12     13     14 15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     PASSERINES
Common names sorted alphabetically: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   W   Y  
Have birds left a mess around your place? We recommend to try a professional cleaning service.

18

Singing Honeyeater

(Lichenostomus virescens)
Alternate name(s): "Black-face Honeyeater", "Dairy-bird", "Grape-eater", "Grey Peter", "Forrest's Honeyeater"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "virescens": "dooromdoorom", "koolbot" (WA)

Size: 18-22 cm
Weight: 26 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 Singing Honeyeater at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "virescens"

ADULT

Frontal view of the an adult Singing Honeyeater (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Dianella, Perth, WA, December 2014]

Lateral view of a Singing Honeyeater (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Cook, SA, June 2016]

Lateral view of a Singing Honeyeater (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Dianella, Perth, WA, December 2014]

Race "sonorus"

ADULT

Close-up frontal view of an adult Singing Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

Frontal view of an adult Singing Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2012]

Singing Honeyeater issuing its contact call (a short, high-pitched trill)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2012]

Frontal view of a Singing Honeyeater in a Grevillea shrub
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2007]

Near-frontal view of the same Singing Honeyeater as above
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2007]

Near-lateral view of the same Singing Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2013]

Lateral view of a Singing Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2013]

Lateral view of a Singing Honeyeater looking for insects on the underside of leaves
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2007]

Near-dorsal view of a Singing Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2013]

Dorsal view of a Singing Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2013]

Singing Honeyeater coming in for a drink
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2008]

Frontal view of a Singing Honeyeater preening
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2010]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Close-up lateral view of an immature Singing Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2011]

Frontal view of a fledgling Singing Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2008]

Here a different fledgling Singing Honeyeater, observed as it ventured out of its nest for the first time; minutes later it flew into a nearby tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2008]

Race "forresti"

ADULT

Frontal view of an adult Singing Honeyeater in a grevillea (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[The Granites Gold Mine, inland NT, June 2015]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a fledgling Singing Honeyeater, left, with one of its parents on the right (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Boolardy Station, Murchison, WA, August 2016]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jul - Feb Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: 14 days Fledging age: ca. 15 days

Given the right conditions, Singing Honeyeaters can breed any time of the year.

Nest

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

Type: Hanging basket Material: Grass, webs Height above ground: 0.5 - 5

Singing Honeyeater nest in an oleander bush
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2008]

The same Singing Honeyeater nest as above, with two chicks on the point of leaving; they were already practicing their wingbeat when this photo was taken - the next morning they were gone
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2008]

View of an incubating Singing Honeyeater on its nest in a Callistemon (bottlebrush) tree, where nest and bird are extremely well hidden; the bird stayed on the nest while an Australian Raven, having notice the activities going on in the tree, was just 2 m away, looking for the nest
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

From the eggs shown below, two Singing Honeyeater chicks grew that, at about one week old, were still downy, with their eyes closed and completely silent
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

From the eggs shown below, two Singing Honeyeater chicks grew that, at about one week old, were still downy, with their eyes closed and completely silent
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

Like many other bird species, in particular those that are being predated on, Singing Honeyeaters keep their nest clean; after feeding a chick, the parent bird sticks around to see whether a back side is being lifted...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

... and if so, the poo bag is being disposed of immediately
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

Singing Honeyeater nestling sitting on the edge of the nest
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

We have noticed that Singing Honeyeaters, not only when the nestlings are near fledging age, approach the nest from high above and bend far down to feed the chicks
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

Eggs

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

Size: 23 x 16 mm Colour: Creamy, with tiny light-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

View from above into a Singing Honeyeater nest in a Callistemon (bottlebrush) tree with two eggs in it
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

This egg(shell) was found on our lawn; based on descriptions in field guides and on which birds were nesting at the time, we tentatively identify this as a Singing Honeyeater's egg
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2011]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Dispersive Elementary unit: Pair

At the two places where we live(d), we observe(d) an anti-coincidence of Singing Honeyeaters and White-plumed Honeyeaters.

Very rare sight: A Singing Honeyeater looking for insects under the roof of our patio; note the beautiful display of a passerine foothold
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2013]

This immature Singing Honeyeater (one can still see its yellow gape) was exploring its mirror image in a window
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2013]

Food, Diet

Adults: Nectar, insects Dependents: Insects Water intake: Daily

Like many other honeyeaters, Singing Honeyeaters do not exclusively feed on nectar, but take insects too. While previously we had seen them looking for insects in trees and bushes only, the photo below shows a bird foraging on our lawn - behaviour we do not regularly observe from honeyeaters.

Singing Honeyeater feeding in a bottlebrush tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2013]

Singing Honeyeater feeding in a bottlebrush tree, here seen from a different angle
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

Singing Honeyeater feeding from a Grevillea flower
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2007]

Singing Honeyeater taking nectar from Mistletoe
[Near Mungindi, NSW, June 2013]

Singing Honeyeater at full stretch hunting for insects in the bark of a tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2009]

Singing Honeyeater searching for insects on the ground
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2011]

It was surprising to find Singing Honeyeaters, amongst other honeyeater species, taking the fruit of this Pittosporum(?) shrub
[Near Bugilbone, NSW, May 2017]

Singing Honeyeater drinking water from a shallow puddle (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Currawinya NP, QLD, October 2008]

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.

To the best of our knowledge, Singing Honeyeater nestlings do not ever call to beg, but remain entirely silent until they leave the nest.

singhon_20140324.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Contact call © MD
singhon_20140328.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Contact calls © MD
singhon_20140107.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Contact call(?) © MD
singhon_20140324_2.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Q&A © MD
singhon_20140220_3.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Answer call © MD
singhon_20160105.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls? © MD
singhon_20160123.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls? © MD
singhon_20141026.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls (break of dawn) © MD
singhon_20141121.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls (break of dawn) © MD
singhon_20140115_2.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Warning call © MD
singhon_20170427.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Defending food source © MD
singhon_20140310.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Fighting in-flight © MD
singhon_20140203.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Feeding call? © MD
singhon_20140715_3.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Feeding calls? © MD
singhon_20140307.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Various © MD
singhon_20140206.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
? © MD
singhon_20140715.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
? © MD
Click here for more recordings

Below a recording of three different species of honeyeaters competing for territorial supremacy: First to call is a Singing Honeyeater, with answers from a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater and then also a pair of Striped Honeyeaters.

singhon_20150911.mp3 (NW NSW) Competing territorial calls © MD

We have also recorded the wing beat of a Singing Honeyeater.

singhon_20140715_7.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Weaving © MD
singhon_20140715_4.mp3 sonorus
(NW NSW)
Squabbling (food competition) © MD

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.