White plumed honeyeater

Written by Gary on May 2nd, 2024

Whilst camping in northern Victoria along the Campaspe River and its River Red Gums which these honeyeaters love, I was fortunate enough to capture this image of one hovering next to grasses beside the river and backlit by the late Autumn sun.

Olympus E-M1 Mark III with Panasonic Leica 200mm f/2.8 lens. Image has been cropped.

The white-plumed honeyeater (Ptilotula penicillata, formerly Lichenostomus penicillatus) is a small passerine bird endemic to Australia.

They are widely distributed throughout south-eastern Australia (excluding Tasmania), up towards central Australia with patches occurring in central and western Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia. The nominate race, P. p. penicillatus, occurs throughout south-eastern Australia to the Spencer Gulf in South Australia, and throughout the Murray-Darling basin.

It was formerly linked closely to the distribution of river red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and a few other riverine species but has undergone range expansion over the last century.

They are mainly found in open sclerophyll woodland, often near water sources, such as wetlands, swamps, creeks, and dams.

Their diet consists mainly of nectar, insects and their products (e.g., honeydew and lerp), manna, fruit, and very occasionally seeds. They mainly feed by gleaning leaf surfaces. Their tongue contains brush-like filaments, consisting of about 60 bristles, which are capable of mopping up nectar.

This is a gregarious species, often found in groups of 12 or more individuals during the nonbreeding season. When I took the above photograph there was a smaller group of perhaps 6 or so around during that day.

Females are relatively more ready to breed from late winter through to summer; Breeding events usually coincide with outbreaks of herbivorous insects.

Above information is taken from Wikipedia.


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