Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

Did you know?

The Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater is one of the frugivorous (fruit-eating) honeyeaters, often following seasonal fruiting patterns; however, it also eats nectar, insects and small vertebrates.

Calls
Gargling or bubbling notes and whistles; also, single loud 'tock'. Can mimic other species.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
23cm
Maximum Size: 
26cm
Average size: 
24cm
Average weight: 
52g
Breeding season: 
June to January; can breed year round.
Clutch Size: 
2 to 3
Incubation: 
14 days
Nestling Period: 
15 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
QLD: 
SA: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
640
What does it look like?
Description: 

The medium-sized Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater has a grey crown scalloped brown, a mottled grey-brown back, a white cheek with spiny bristles to below the ear, and an orange-brown throat and chest. The underparts are white, streaked brown, the wings are grey, with white-edged feathers, and the long tail is dark grey-brown with white tips. The pale blue-grey eye is surrounded by bare pinkish skin and the pink bill has a black tip. Young birds are browner and have yellow cheek spines. Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters are sociable and aggressive, and are often seen or heard in large flocks, foraging high in trees.

Similar species: 

The Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater looks like a small wattlebird, but has a distinctive orange chest and throat, white cheek spines and a bicoloured (pink and black) bill.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater is found across mainland Australia, especially in the arid interior, reaching the coast from Esperance, Western Australia to Melbourne, Victoria. It is also found on Kangaroo Island. It is absent from the east coast, and is not found in the northern tropics from the Kimberley region, Western Australia to Cape York, Queensland.

Habitat: 

The Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater is found in dry woodlands, mallee and acacia scrub, especially with a porcupine grass understorey. Also found in coastal scrubs, woodlands along rivers and, occasionally, mangroves. May be found in orchards.

Seasonal movements: 

Sedentary in the south of its range, partially migratory in the north.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater feeds mainly on nectar and fruit, but may also eat insects, reptiles and baby birds. It forages in the dense foliage and outer branches of trees, but may sometimes feed on the ground or take insects in the air.

Breeding: 

The Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater builds a deep, suspended, cup-shaped nest of plant fibres and grasses bound with spider webs and lined with soft materials, which is placed from 1 m to 13 m from the ground. The female incubates the eggs alone, but both sexes feed and care for the young.

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