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Black-Flecked Plumage With Yellow Patches On Wings, New Holland Honeyeater Becomes Standout In The World Of Birds (12 Photos)

New Holland honeyeaters are very distinctive birds. They make a name for themselves with beautiful black and white-flecked plumage. I have never thought that black and white could combine in such an amazing way. These birds wear a “one-of-its-kind” coat, making them outstanding in their colony.

The New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) is one of Australia’s most energetic birds. Fuelled up on high-energy nectar taken from the flowers of banksias, eucalypts, grevilleas and other trees and shrubs, they are always active and pugnacious. Whether they are dashing in pursuit of a flying insect or chasing other honeyeaters away, the New Holland Honeyeater is seldom seen sitting still. One of their more unusual activities is to conduct ‘Corroborrees’, where up to a dozen birds congregate and noisily display together, fluttering their wings.

The New Holland Honeyeater is mostly black and white, with a large yellow wing patch and yellow sides on the tail. It has a small white ear patch, a thin white whisker at the base of the bill and a white eye. This honeyeater is an active bird, and rarely sits still long enough to give an extended view. Sexes are similar in looks, but females are slightly smaller in size. Young birds are browner and have a grey eye.

What do New Holland Honeyeaters look like? The New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) is black and white with a yellow patch on their wing and along the edge of their tails. These birds have a small white patch around their ear, white eyes and have small whiskers near their bill. Baby New Holland Honeyeaters look very different and are brown with grey eyes. These striking little birds are hard to miss but they are easy to confuse with another bird. The White-cheeked Honeyeater is about the same size and has similar colouring to the New Holland Honeyeater. The way to tell them apart is in their eyes. White eyes = New Holland Honeyeater and black eyes = White-cheeked Honeyeater.

Where are New Holland Honeyeaters found? You may come across the New Holland Honeyeater if you are in the southern half of Australia. This bird can be seen from Brisbane to just north of Perth. New Holland Honeyeaters get their name from the first name given to Australia (New Holland). It was called New Holland because the Dutch were the first Europeans to visit here. This buddy has worked out that while they are small and easily chased away by large birds, if they get together in a big group, they can chase away other animals. This ‘mobbing’ technique requires a bit of organisation and cooperation.

These striking little birds are hard to miss but they are easy to confuse with another bird. The New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) is black and white with a yellow patch on their wing and along the edge of their tails. These birds have a small white patch around their ear, white eyes and have small whiskers near their bill. Baby New Holland Honeyeaters look very different and are brown with grey eyes.

The long, curved beak these honeyeaters have are perfect for reaching deep into a flower to get to the sweet nectar inside. The White-cheeked Honeyeater (Phylidonyris niger) is about the same size and has similar colouring to the New Holland Honeyeater. The way to tell them apart is in their eyes. White eyes = New Holland Honeyeater and black eyes = White-cheeked Honeyeater.

 

These birds get their name from the first name given to Australia (New Holland). It was called New Holland because the Dutch were the first Europeans to visit here. This honeyeater may be small and full of sugar, but it is still capable of coming up with some ingenious ideas. They have worked out that while they are small and easily chased away by large birds, if they get together in a big group, they can chase away other animals. This ‘mobbing’ technique requires a bit of organisation and cooperation.

New Holland Honeyeaters have two breeding peaks, in summer and winter, when they build two different nest types. Their winter nest is built at the top of a bush facing the northern sun to keep it warm. In summer they build their nest deep in the bush away from the heat and the sun. Small birds like the New Holland Honeyeater are often overlooked in garden planning. While they do love many of the same plants as larger birds like Noisy Miners and Wattlebirds, they also need protective, dense vegetation areas.

So if you want to make your garden attractive to honeyeaters, plant several dense bushes with lots of foliage and create an understory in a section of your garden so that honeyeaters can feel safe and protected. Simple things that you do can make a huge difference to Australia’s animals. That’s why the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is running Backyard Buddies— to give you tips to help.

New Holland Honeyeaters love: Nectar – from flowering native trees and shrubs. Bird baths – that have fresh water to bathe, play and drink in and are away from the reach of cats. Insects – which they feed on to supplement their nectar diet. Their family and friends – who they spend all day with and, despite the odd argument, generally get along with.

 

But they don’t like: Cats, dogs and foxes – who may attack them. Wattlebirds – who they often battle with over their favourite nectar bushes. Wattlebirds are bigger but the New Holland Honeyeater has greater numbers. Being out in the open – as they much prefer to flit from shrub to shrub, and have plenty of spiky bushes to hide in.

Build up an area of thick vegetation in your garden so these buddies can hide and feel safe. Plant Banksias, Callistemons (Bottlebrushes), Grevilleas and native flowering gums for the honeyeaters to eat from. Keep your pets indoors so they can’t attack or eat native birds. Provide a shallow dish of water or bird bath in a safe place for birds to drink and bathe in.

Feeding wild birds such as the New Holland Honeyeater. Their natural diet includes nectar and the occasional insect, and it isn’t good for them to eat bread, or even sugary water. Having a garden of just lawn and trees. Many birds need an understory of densely planted spiky bushes and shrubs. Using chemicals or pesticides in your garden, as a New Holland Honeyeater that eats a few contaminated insects could get very sick. Don’t be surprised if: These honeyeaters make loud noises and flitter very quickly when you approach; they are territorial and very fast so photographing them and watching them can be quite tricky.

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