Brown honeyeater

Brown honeyeater
Lichmera indistincta

Photo by David Kleinert (David Kleinert Photography)

Common name:
brown honeyeater (en); melífago-castanho (pt); méliphage brunâtre (fr); mielero pardo (es); braunhonigfresser (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Meliphagidae

This species is found throughout most of Australia, with the exceptions of Southern Australia and Victoria, and also in southern New Guinea, the Torres Strait Islands, the Tiwi Islands, Bali and the Lesser Sundas, and on the Aru Islands.

These birds are 11,5-16 cm long and have a wingspan of 18-23 cm. They weigh 9-11 g.

The brown honeyeater is found in various wooded habitats, including mangroves, rainforests, and savannas, in scrublands, marshes and swamps, along rivers and streams, in rural gardens and in urban parks and gardens.

They forage among the foliage on the tree canopy, taking nectar and also insects such as beetles, flies, ants, wasps and bees.

Brown honeyeaters can breed all year round, varying  markedly across its range. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of an open cup made fine bark, especially Melaleuca bark, grass, plant down and sometimes paper, bound together with spider webs and lined with plant down, hair, fine grass or flowers. It is placed in a fork or horizontal branch of a tree or scrub, often near water and up to 2 m above the ground. There the female lays 1-3 white or pinkish eggs, sometimes spotted with faint reddish or brownish flecks. The eggs are incubated by the female for 13-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13-17 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as locally common to moderately common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction, especially due to habitat clearance for farming.

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