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Australian Honeyeaters

Australian Honeyeaters belong to the Meliphagidae family which has 187 species, half of which are found in Australia, including the Australian chats, myzomelas, friarbirds, wattlebirds, and miners. Many have a brush-tipped tongue to collect nectar from flowers. They also eat insects, pollen, berries and manna. Honeyeaters can be very aggressive in their quest for the rich sources of sugar provided by Eucalypts and other Australian trees.

Photo: The Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (25 cm in length) is seen in dry woodlands, feeding on nectar and fruit in the mallee and acacia across non-tropical inland Australia.

The New Holland Honeyeater (18 cm) is one of the most common on the southern coasts of Australia. They are aggressive honey consumers, seen here enjoying nectar from a Banskia flower.

The New Holland Honeyeater (18 cm) is one of the most common on the southern coasts of Australia. They are aggressive honey consumers, seen here enjoying nectar from a Banskia flower.

The small Eastern Spinebill (16 cm) hovers hummingbird like to feed on nectar in a suburban garden. Common along Australia's south-east coast gardens, forests and heaths.

The small Eastern Spinebill (16 cm) hovers hummingbird like to feed on nectar in a suburban garden. Common along Australia's south-east coast gardens, forests and heaths.

The Red-headed Honeyeater (12 cm) lives in mangroves, swamps and forests of the tropical north. One of three Australian members of the Myzomela family, all small and acrobatic birds.

The Red-headed Honeyeater (12 cm) lives in mangroves, swamps and forests of the tropical north. One of three Australian members of the Myzomela family, all small and acrobatic birds.

The Blue-faced Honeyeater (31 cm) ranges from the north and east to South Australia. In open woodlands to river edges and mangroves. An aggressive feeder on nectar, fruit and insects.

The Blue-faced Honeyeater (31 cm) ranges from the north and east to South Australia. In open woodlands to river edges and mangroves. An aggressive feeder on nectar, fruit and insects.

The Bell Miner (20 cm) is named for its beautiful bell-like call. But like the Noisy Miner it is an aggressive and territorial coloniser taking over from other species.

The Bell Miner (20 cm) is named for its beautiful bell-like call. But like the Noisy Miner it is an aggressive and territorial coloniser taking over from other species.

The Little Wattlebird (35 cm) is one of the large sedentary honeyeaters that dominate garden shrubs with large flowers, eg. grevilleas and bottle-brushes.

The Little Wattlebird (35 cm) is one of the large sedentary honeyeaters that dominate garden shrubs with large flowers, eg. grevilleas and bottle-brushes.

The Noisy Friarbird (35 cm), one of four Australian Friarbirds, is loud, aggressive with its bare black head and casque. Feed on nectar, lerps and manna

The Noisy Friarbird (35 cm), one of four Australian Friarbirds, is loud, aggressive with its bare black head and casque. Feed on nectar, lerps and manna

The elegant Regent Honeyeater (23 cm) was very common but is now endangered with a few hundred left, supplemented by birds bred in captivity and conservation programs.

The elegant Regent Honeyeater (23 cm) was very common but is now endangered with a few hundred left, supplemented by birds bred in captivity and conservation programs.

The Striped Honeyeater (25 cm) is a citizen of Australia's eastern inland arid forests and woodlands. Feeds on insects, seeds and fruit as well as nectar.

The Striped Honeyeater (25 cm) is a citizen of Australia's eastern inland arid forests and woodlands. Feeds on insects, seeds and fruit as well as nectar.

The Banded Honeyeater (14 cm) lives in forests and woodlands of far north Australia, feeding in Eucalypts and Paperbarks.

The Banded Honeyeater (14 cm) lives in forests and woodlands of far north Australia, feeding in Eucalypts and Paperbarks.

The closely related Black Honeyeater (12 cm) is found in semi-arid regions, from Western Australia to NSW, feeding on insects and nectar.

The closely related Black Honeyeater (12 cm) is found in semi-arid regions, from Western Australia to NSW, feeding on insects and nectar.

The Little Friarbird (30 cm) sports greyish-blue facial skin. An aggressive and noisy feeder on nectar across northern and eastern Australia.

The Little Friarbird (30 cm) sports greyish-blue facial skin. An aggressive and noisy feeder on nectar across northern and eastern Australia.

Large flocks of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters (18 cm) migrate north each autumn to return in spring. Feed on nectar and insects in forests, woodlands, heath and mangroves.

Large flocks of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters (18 cm) migrate north each autumn to return in spring. Feed on nectar and insects in forests, woodlands, heath and mangroves.

The White-plumed Honeyeater (17 cm) is widespread across Australia’s woodlands, mallees and inland rivers. Feed on nectars and insects.

The White-plumed Honeyeater (17 cm) is widespread across Australia’s woodlands, mallees and inland rivers. Feed on nectars and insects.

White-naped Honeyeaters (15 cm) live in the forests and woodlands of eastern and south-western Australia.They feed on nectar, insects, manna and honey-dew.

White-naped Honeyeaters (15 cm) live in the forests and woodlands of eastern and south-western Australia.They feed on nectar, insects, manna and honey-dew.

Lewin's Honeyeater (22 cm) frequents the wetter forests of Australia's eastern coast. They forage for insects in tree bark as well as nectar and fruits.

Lewin's Honeyeater (22 cm) frequents the wetter forests of Australia's eastern coast. They forage for insects in tree bark as well as nectar and fruits.

This Rufous-banded Honeyeater (13 cm) is looking for insects in a tropical marshland. A resident of northern Australia and New Guinea.

This Rufous-banded Honeyeater (13 cm) is looking for insects in a tropical marshland. A resident of northern Australia and New Guinea.