Ian’s Bird of the Week – Bar-breasted Honeyeater

Bar-breasted Honeyeater (Ramsayornis fasciatus) ©Ian

Bar-breasted Honeyeater (Ramsayornis fasciatus) ©Ian

Newsletter 1/3/2010

This week we have an unusual-looking honeyeater from northern Australia, the Bar-breasted Honeyeater. It is the only Australian Honeyeater with strong barring – the only other barred one is it’s close relative the faintly-barred Brown-backed Honeyeater of northeastern Queensland and PNG.

Its range extends through coastal areas from the Kimberley in Western Australia to Rockhampton in Queensland. Though scarce in eastern Queensland, it is quite common in suitable habitats in the rest of northern Australia but, being an unobtrusive feeder on the blossoms of trees, it is easy to overlook. Like the Brown-backed, it prefers woodlands near water, typically paperbarks or eucalyptus and both species build quite bulky suspended nests of paperbark strips, usually over water. See the second photo of the Brown-backed Honeyeater here for an example: http://birdway.com.au/meliphagidae/brown_backed_honeyeater/index.htm.

Bar-breasted Honeyeater (Ramsayornis fasciatus) by Ian

Bar-breasted Honeyeater (Ramsayornis fasciatus) by Ian

Birds that feed on flowering trees are usually difficult to photograph as they often remain obscured by the foliage. I photographed the one in the first photo on Cape York by sitting in comfort on a folding chair in the shade of a flowering tree – it was a very hot day – and focussing the camera on a suitably exposed blossom until a honeyeater came along. In the second photo, in northeastern Western Australia, I climbed up a tree and sat on a large limb against the trunk and waited for the birds to come and feed near me.

Well another year is on us, so Happy New Year, specifically Happy twenty-ten! (Being pedantic, I’ve joined the campaign to boycott ‘two thousand and . . .’).

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:

It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory. (Proverbs 25:27 KJV)

Thanks again, Ian. I also like calling it twenty ten, but I also like “Oh, ten.” Anyway, on with the bird of the week.

Ian also did a bird of the week on the Rufous-banded Honeyeater.  Also see Meliphagidae – Honeyeaters for more information about the Honeyeaters. For a list of all the Honeyeaters – Click Here.

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