Pied Honeyeater

Did you know?

The highly visible black and white markings of male Pied Honeyeaters are displayed during breeding season with acrobatic aerial flights and by tail-spreading when perched in a prominent location.

Calls
A mournful whistled 'tee-titee-tee-tee'.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
15cm
Maximum Size: 
20cm
Average size: 
17cm
Average weight: 
27g
Breeding season: 
June to November
Clutch Size: 
1 to 3 eggs, usually 2
Incubation: 
14 days
Nestling Period: 
13 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NT: 
QLD: 
SA: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Associated Plants
Plants associated with this species
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
602
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Pied Honeyeater is a medium-sized honeyeater with a long curved bill and a small pale-blue patch of bare skin below the eye. Males are black and white, having a black head, neck and upper parts, a white lower rump and upper tail, black wings with a white stripe, and white underparts with a black tipped tail. Females are brown above, with a grey-white chin and throat grading into a whitish breast streaked and spotted dark-brown, with the rest of the underparts white. The wings have a white stripe along the edges of the secondary feathers, and there is a black and white shoulder patch formed by black feathers edged with white. The bare eye patch is less conspicuous in females and young birds than in males. This species is also known as the Black and White or Western Pied Honeyeater.

Similar species: 

A similar related species is the Black HoneyeaterC. niger, which is smaller, with a finer bill, shorter tail and lacks the bare eye patch. Males of this species also have a distinctive stripe down the centre of the chest and abdomen, while females have plainer wings and less streaking on the breast. The calls also differ. The superficially similar White-winged TrillerLalage sueurii, may be distinguished by its short straight bill, and its habit of foraging on the ground rather than in trees (i.e. does not behave like a honeyeater), as well as its very different calls.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Pied Honeyeater is found in south-central and south-western Queensland, south to 32° S in western New South Wales and is only sparsely scattered on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range. It is found across the northern parts of South Australia, mainly in the north-west, and is widespread through Western Australia, north of Kalgoorlie to the southern parts of the Kimberley region. It is rarely recorded in the far south-west of the state. In the Northern Territory it is found mainly south or south-west of Alice Springs, and is found in the Top End only during severe droughts.

Habitat: 

The Pied Honeyeater is found in the arid and semi-arid zones, in shrublands dominated by Emu-bush, Eremophila, and grevilleas, as well as woodlands, sandhills, inland ranges and granite outcrops. It is sometimes found in coastal areas of north-western Western Australia.

Seasonal movements: 

Nomadic, moving in response to rainfall and flowering of food-plants.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Pied Honeyeater feeds mainly on nectar, but also eats insects and occasionally fruit and seeds. It uses its long bill to probe flowers and foliage of trees and shrubs, especially Emu-bush, Eremophila, eucalpyts and grevilleas. May be seen alone, in pairs or small flocks, with large flocks sometimes forming around abundant food sources. Will often feed with Black Honeyeaters, White-fronted Honeyeaters and woodswallows.

Breeding: 

Pied Honeyeater pairs may nest near other pairs, with males defending a breeding territory using calls and aerial displays. Both sexes build the shallow cup-shaped nest from twigs, grass (e.g. Spinifex), and other plant materials bound with spider-web and lined with soft grass, roots, flowers, wool, feathers and plant down. The nest is placed low in a shrub or small tree, suspended by the rim from a forked branch. Both sexes incubate the eggs and care for the young, continuing to feed them after they have fledged.

Living with us

The Pied Honeyeater is listed as vulnerable in New South Wales, with key threats being the clearing and grazing of Emu-bush.

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