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18

White-eared Honeyeater

(Lichenostomus leucotis)
Size: 19-22 cm
Weight: 18-30 g
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See White-eared Honeyeater at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "leucotis"

ADULT

Near-frontal view of a White-eared Honeyeater (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Mt. Nunniong, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2017]

Lateral view of a White-eared Honeyeater (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, September 2013]

Near-dorsal view of a White-eared Honeyeater (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Near Swifts Creek, East Gippsland, VIC, September 2017]

Race "novaenorciae"

ADULT

Frontal view of an adult White-eared Honeyeater
[Bullawa Creek SCA, NSW, June 2008]

Frontal view of a White-eared Honeyeater, different posture
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, November 2013]

This White-eared Honeyeater was observed in sparse scrub on a mountain top at an altitude of 1300 m
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, October 2011]

Near-lateral view of a White-eared Honeyeater
[Bullawa Creek SCA, NSW, June 2008]

Near-lateral view of a White-eared Honeyeater, different posture
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, November 2013]

White-eared Honeyeater looking around cautiously while approaching a waterhole
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, March 2009]

Lateral view of the same White-eared Honeyeater as above, now having a drink; one can see how the tongue is used to slurp up water
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, March 2009]

White-eared Honeyeater issuing its dual-tone call
[Porcupine Reserve, Gunnedah, NSW, August 2011]

Dorsal view of a White-eared Honeyeater
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, March 2012]

These two White-eared Honeyeaters seemed to have a bit of a stand-off...
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, April 2011]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of a juvenile White-eared Honeyeater; note that the cap is still olive-green and the throat still grey, rather than black
[Bullawa Creek SCA, NSW, December 2011]

Frontal view of a juvenile White-eared Honeyeater
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, February 2017]

Near-lateral view of a juvenile White-eared Honeyeater
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, February 2017]

Juvenile White-eared Honeyeater waiting to be fed by one of its parents (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Near Moree, NSW, September 2012]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Aug - Jan Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: 14-15? days Fledging age: 15-17? days

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

Nest

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

Type: Basket Material: Grass stems, bark strips, webs, plant down or feather lining Height above ground: 0.3 - 3 m

White-eared Honeyeater nest shortly after the chicks had fledged
[Near Binnaway, NSW, September 2015]

Eggs

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

Size: 21 x 15 mm Colour: White, with sparse light-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

White-eared Honeyeater nest with two eggs (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Alban's, NSW, August 2013]

Behaviour

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

White-eared Honeyeaters are one of the bird species that will come close to check out intruders into their territories. However, they hardly ever came to our place, only a few kilometres from dense bushland in the foothills of the Nandewar Range.

The bird below was observed by us guarding its territory on a sparsely vegetated mountain top from various vantage points, some on plants, some on rocks.

White-eared Honeyeater guarding its rocky high-altitude territory
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, October 2011]

White-eared Honeyeater defending its food source from a high perch in a Callistemon shrub
[Narrabri, NSW, June 2018]

White-eared Honeyeater in shrubs at an altitude of 1300 m
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, August 2013]

Food, Diet

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

Like many other honeyeaters, White-eared Honeyeaters do not exclusively feed on nectar, but take insects and spiders too. They are known to also take fruit.

White-eared Honeyeater taking nectar from a Callistemon shrub
[Narrabri Creek, Narrabri, NSW, June 2018]

White-eared Honeyeater in a Callistemon shrub, with pollen all around the base of its bill
[Narrabri Creek, Narrabri, NSW, June 2018]

White-eared Honeyeater in a Callistemon shrub, with pollen all around the base of its bill
[Narrabri Creek, Narrabri, NSW, June 2018]

White-eared Honeyeater feeding on the nectar of mistletoe in an eucalypt
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, February 2015]

White-eared Honeyeater looking for insects in tree bark
[Near Narrabri, NSW, May 2012]

This White-eared Honeyeater has caught an insect
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, October 2011]

White-eared Honeyeater approaching a waterhole
[Near Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2018]

White-eared Honeyeater drinking from a waterhole
[Near Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2018]

White-eared Honeyeater approaching a water bowl (photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Ulamambri, near Coonabarabran, NSW, February 2014]

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.

whitear_20140212.mp3 novaenorciae
(NW NSW)
Contact call © MD
whitear_20150221.mp3 novaenorciae
(NW NSW)
Territorial call(?) © MD
whitear_20150221_2.mp3 novaenorciae
(NW NSW)
Territorial calls(?) © MD
whitear_20140110_4.mp3 novaenorciae
(NW NSW)
Two birds fighting © MD
whitear_20150920.mp3 novaenorciae
(NW NSW)
Various © MD
whitear_20170325.mp3 novaenorciae
(NW NSW)
(foraging, feeding) © MD
whitear_20180621.m4a novaenorciae
(NW NSW)
Feeding call(?) © MD
whitear_20180621_2.m4a novaenorciae
(NW NSW)
Feeding call(?) © MD
whitear_20140115_2.mp3 novaenorciae
(NW NSW)
? © MD
whitear_20140115_3.mp3 novaenorciae
(NW NSW)
? © 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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