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18

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater

(Lichenostomus melanops)
Alternate name(s): "Whisky", "Yellow Whisker"
Size: 17-23 cm
Weight: 20-40 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 Yellow-tufted Honeyeater at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "melanops"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, September 2013]

Race "meltoni"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Close-up frontal view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (photo courtesy of V. Collins)
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, April 2021]

Close-up frontal view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, August 2022]

Close-up frontal view of a preening Yellow-tufted Honeyeater - note the prominent black and yellow tufts giving the species its name
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, February 2018]

Close-up frontal view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater looking sideways
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, February 2018]

Close-up frontal view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater looking sideways
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, August 2022]

Close-up near-frontal/ventral view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (photo courtesy of V. Collins)
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, April 2021]

Near-lateral view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater looking towards the observer (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Durikai SF, near Warwick, QLD, August 2017]

Near-lateral/ventral view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater looking downwards
[Girraween NP, QLD, January 2017]

Near-lateral view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Sheep Station Creek, near Swifts Creek, East Gippsland, VIC, July 2018]

Near-lateral view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, September 2007]

Lateral view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Durikai SF, near Warwick, QLD, March 2018]

This lateral/ventral view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater shows the typical honeyeater brush tongue - no offence intended
(photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Mann River Nature Reserve, near Glen Innes, NSW, July 2019]

Lateral/ventral view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
[Girraween NP, QLD, January 2017]

Lateral view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater at full reverse thrust (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Kooyoora State Park, near Bendigo, VIC, September 2018]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Two different views of probably a juvenile Yellow-tufted Honeyeater drinking water from a dam; note the bluish base of the bill and the absence of a tail
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, April 2008]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Dispersive/ sedentary Elementary unit: Pair

Food, Diet

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

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

Near-frontal view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater feeding head down, taking nectar from a eucalypt
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, August 2013]

View onto the upperparts of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater feeding head down in a clump of flowering Mistletoe
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, April 2017]

A Yellow-tufted Honeyeater is so far the first and only bird we have seen feeding on nectar and/or pollen of an acacia tree (which we had seen so far only being used by insects); we could not find any evidence that the bird took insects, rather than nectar, ffrom the flowers
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, March 2013]

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater taking nectar from Urn Heath
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, June 2014]

Near-frontal view of a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater and a Fuscous Honeyeater hawking for insects from a Casuarina, together with more birds of the same species and with Singing Honeyeaters and White-plumed Honeyeaters, all hunting out of the one tree
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, December 2012]

Near-lateral view of two Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters drinking water from a water hole (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Durikai SF, near Warwick, QLD, August 2017]

Lateral view of a mob of Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters approaching a water hole (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Durikai SF, near Warwick, QLD, August 2017]

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.

yelthon_20180131.m4a meltoni
(NW NSW)
Contact calls (Q&A) © MD
yelthon_20220826_2.mp3 meltoni
(NW NSW)
Contact calls (Q&A) © MD
yelthon_20181002.m4a meltoni
(NW NSW)
Alarm calls (Aerial predator) © MD
yelthon_20140612_2.mp3 meltoni
(NW NSW)
Alarm calls (mob) © MD
yelthon_20240218_2.m4a meltoni
(NW NSW)
Squabbling (in-flight) © MD
yelthon_20160730.m4a meltoni
(NW NSW)
(Feeding on psyllids) © MD
yelthon_20181002_2.m4a meltoni
(NW NSW)
Feeding calls? © MD
yelthon_20220301.m4a meltoni
(NW NSW)
Various © MD
yelthon_20220901.mp3 meltoni
(NW NSW)
? © MD

On 13 March 2014 we noticed the following peculiarity: On five separate occasions Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters responded to a call by a White-throated Treecreeper. Our recordings suggest a direct relation between the White-throated Treecreeper call and the response. A single chirp did not warrant a response, but repeated calls did. The more vigorous the White-throated Treecreeper call, the more energetic the response by a group of Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters. The recordings are sorted by the intensity of the calls. In the last recording of the sequence, the Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters are "triggered" twice in quick succession.

yelthon_20140313_6.mp3 meltoni
(NW NSW)
Response to other species © MD
yelthon_20140313_5.mp3 meltoni
(NW NSW)
Response to other species © MD
yelthon_20140313_4.mp3 meltoni
(NW NSW)
Response to other species © MD
yelthon_20140313.mp3 meltoni
(NW NSW)
Response to other species © MD
yelthon_20140313_2.mp3 meltoni
(NW NSW)
Response to other species © MD

More Yellow-tufted Honeyeater sound recordings are available at xeno-canto.org .

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.