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Striped Honeyeater

(Plectorhyncha lanceolata)
Alternate name(s): "Lanceolated Honeyeater"
Size: 22-25 cm; wing span 28-36 cm
Weight: 33-48 g
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Striped Honeyeater at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information


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



Frontal/ventral view of a male Striped Honeyeater; note its white underparts - the feathers are not wet from a bath, but are spiny, similar to those of Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2008]

Profile view of a male Striped Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2008]

Frontal/ventral view of a preening male Striped Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2019]

Near-frontal view of a male Striped Honeyeater foraging in a eucalypt for psyllids and lerps
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2012]

Near-lateral view of a male Striped Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2008]

Lateral view of a Striped Honeyeater in a casuarina (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lake Nuga Nuga, QLD, April 2013]

Male(?) Striped Honeyeater foraging in a eucalypt for psyllids and lerps
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2011]

Near-dorsal view of a male(?) Striped Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2012]

Male Striped Honeyeater, left, posing and singing a ballad for his lady, who then falls in with him; this is how one will find Striped Honeyeaters when "serenading", as recorded on 3 October 2014
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, 2005]

Dorsal view of a male Striped Honeyeater, showing the beautiful stripe pattern giving the species its name


Close-up frontal view of a female(?) Striped Honeyeater; note the faint-buff underparts
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2013]

Frontal view of a female(?) Striped Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2011]

Female(?) Striped Honeyeater issuing its call
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2011]

Sex unknown

Striped Honeyeater foraging in an eucalypt for psyllids and lerps (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[St. George, QLD, August 2018]


Lateral view of a juvenile Striped Honeyeater
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2012]

Striped Honeyeater feeding one of three fledgling chicks waiting silently in an acacia tree
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, January 2008]

The same Striped Honeyeater chick (the strongest of the three), having climbed to a higher branch than its siblings, getting the feed again
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, January 2008]

Close-up view of the same little Striped Honeyeater
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, January 2008]

This photo of a fledgling Striped Honeyeater (this one still had trouble flying and finding its balance on the perch) shows clearly the brown tints of the wing feathers that will completely disappear when the bird moults into its adult plumage
[Bullawa Creek SCA, NSW, November 2008]

Fledgling Striped Honeyeater from a nest in our rural garden
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2013]

Fledgling Striped Honeyeater from a nest in our rural garden
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2013]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jul - Jan Eggs: 3 - 4 Incubation period: 14 days Fledging age: ca. 15 - 17 days


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

Type: Suspended basket Material: Grass, webs Height above ground: 2 - 5

Additional information

Striped Honeyeaters like to take advantage of the protection offered by nesting under an Australian Magpie nest. There is now a separate page about various bird species nesting under the umbrella of a stronger, protective species.

Striped Honeyeaters like nesting at the lower end of big mistletoes or drooping branches of trees, such as e.g. Acacia salicina or Weeping Myall.

In the spring of 2007 a pair of Striped Honeyeaters started building a nest in our garden, 20 km east of Narrabri. However, the nest was later abandoned, because the birds could not establish themselves in the habitat due to the presence of various other, stronger species, such as Noisy Friarbirds, Little Friarbirds and, most prominently, Singing Honeyeaters. They finally succeeded in 2010, see below.

Close-up view of a Striped Honeyeater's nest; note how the whole construction hinges on the threads tied above the little fork at the top
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2010]

Striped Honeyeater sitting on its nest; note how low the bird is in the nest - a sign that it is still sitting on eggs; once the chicks hatch, it will be sitting higher while keeping them warm
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2011]

Striped Honeyeaters are vigilant while incubating...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

... they will always keep an eye on the observer
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Female(?) Striped Honeyeater bringing new material for its nest
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2011]

Female Striped Honeyeater is eyeing a downy feather for lining its nest
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2013]

Male Striped Honeyeater bringing a downy feather to its nest
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2013]

Male Striped Honeyeater tearing apart a spider's web for use in building its nest
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2012]

This Striped Honeyeater nest is at the end of a stringy branch of an Acacia salicina
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2011]

Different year, different tree (in this case an hanging branch in a eucalypt, the same tight squeeze in a Striped Honeyeater nest
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

From the eggs shown below three Striped Honeyeater chicks hatched, seen here begging for food
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2011]

Striped Honeyeater nest in a flowering mistletoe
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, February 2009]

Male(?) Striped Honeyeater bringing home food for its chicks
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, February 2009]


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

Size: 24 x 17 mm Colour: Creamy, sparsely speckled with light-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

View from above into a Striped Honeyeater's nest with three eggs in it
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2011]

This egg shell was found on our lawn; we tentatively identify it as a Striped Honeyeater's egg
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2011]


Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Dispersive Elementary unit: Pair

Striped Honeyeaters are one of the bird species that immerse themselves completely when having a bath.

Soaking wet Striped Honeyeater dragging itself out of the bathtub (photo courtesy of A. Campbell)
[Mount McEuen, QLD, October 2016]

Food, Diet

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

Like many other honeyeaters Striped Honeyeaters like the flowers of bottlebrush trees and various types of grevilleas. Again like many other honeyeaters, they do not exclusively feed on nectar, but use their sticky tongue to take insects too. Also known to feed on fruit and seeds.

Striped Honeyeater acrobatics while feeding in a bottlebrush tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Striped Honeyeater acrobatics while feeding in a bottlebrush tree, different posture (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Robina, Gold Coast, QLD, December 2013]

This Striped Honeyeater has picked a psyllid insect with lerp (the insect's crystallized secretion) from the underside of a eucalypt leaf
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

Male Striped Honeyeater taking psyllids and lerps
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2011]

Failing to find lerps, this male Striped Honeyeater is picking off psyllids
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2011]

Male Striped Honeyeater foraging through a Cypress pine tree for small insects
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2015]

When a Striped Honeyeater forages in a wattle shrub or tree, as shown here, it is not looking for nectar, but for insects - in this case insects taking nectar from the wattle flowers (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Striped Honeyeater drinking from a waterhole together with a White-eared Honeyeater, back right, and a Singing Honeyeater, front left
[Near Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2019]

Male Striped Honeyeater drinking from a water bowl
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2008]

Additional information

There is a separate page with a short description of psyllids and lerps.


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.

strphon_20140506.mp3 (NW NSW) Contact call © MD
strphon_20150808.m4a (NW NSW) Pair Q&A © MD
strphon_20140310.mp3 (NW NSW) Pair Q&A © MD
strphon_20140612.mp3 (NW NSW) Pair Q&A © MD
strphon_20140727_2.mp3 (NW NSW) Territorial call? © MD
strphon_20140727.mp3 (NW NSW) Territorial call? © MD
spinhon_20141003_2.mp3 (NW NSW) "Song contest" (with Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater) © MD
strphon_20190823.m4a (NW NSW) Alarm call (goanna) © MD
strphon_20200719.m4a (NW NSW) ? © MD

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

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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