Lee Richardson Zoo

Blue-faced Honeyeater

AKA:  Banana-bird, Blue-eye, Gympie, Pandanus-bird

Order:  Passeriformes
Family:  Meliphagidae - Honeyeaters

Scientific name:  Entomyzon cyanotis

 

Description:  A distinctive, large honeyeater; golden-olive above, whitish below, head-pattern distinctive; crown and nape black, with white nape-band; patch of bright to darkish blue facial skin; dusky mark from chin down throat widens into a black bib.  Bill black, pale-grey at base; eye white.  Sexes are alike in plumage, male larger than female, Juvenile similar to adult but duller.


Home Range:  (3 subspecies are recognized.) E.c. griseigularis: southernNew Guinea and northern Australia; E.c. albipennis: north Western Australia across top end of Northern Territory to extreme north west Queensland. E.c. cyanotis: eastern Australia from base of Cape York Peninsula south to northcentral and north west Victoria and south east South Australia.

 

Habitat type:  Open forests and woodlands, timber along watercourses, timber in farmland, roadsides, taller sub-inland scrubs.  In N. Australia pandanus (screw pine), swamp woodlands; also sugar cane, banana plantations, orchards, golf-courses, parks, gardens, common in cities and towns.

 

Median Longevity:  not specified.

 

Reproductive habits:  Few records of breeding in New Guinea; in Australia all months with most recorded winter – spring; usually raising 2 broods per year. Both parents build the nest; a neat rounded cup of strips of bark and less often, leaves, sticks and cocoons, lined with fine bark, grasses, plant-down and wool.  Often uses old nests of Babblers when available rather than building their own.  Lay a clutch of 2 pale eggs with fine dark spots to blotching, rarely 3.  Records of communal breeding and more than one female laying in the same nest.  Incubated by female only for 16 – 17 days.  Chicks fed by both adults.  Nests are sometimes parasitized by Common Koel and Pallid Cuckoo.

 

Diet in Wild:  mostly insects, some spiders and nectar (often eucalyptus).  Will also eat fruit and occasionally small lizards.

 

Diet in Zoo:  Dry Bird mix with chopped apples, carrots and greens, mealworms, and nectar powder.

 

General InfoFound in pairs when nesting, otherwise family parties or small flocks; given to noisy displays, mobbing of owls and goannas.  Inquisitive and aggressive; feeds in foliage, blossoms, probes bark.  Becomes bold around habitation, raids fruit, takes food in poultry yards, visits rubbish dumps for sweet food, gleans syrup from sugar-cane after burning.  All honeyeaters have a brush-tipped tongue to allow rapid uptake of liquids, such as nectar, by flicking in and out of the bill at high speed.  Unlike hummingbirds, who take nectar while hovering, honeyeaters are almost always perched while they visit flowers.  Legs and claws are strong to cling to branches to reach flowers.  The decurved bill helps to probe in flowers.

 

Predators:  Adults and nests containing eggs and nestlings are preyed upon by raptors, domestic and feral cats, and stoats.  Rats, reptiles, common brush-tailed possums, and ants will also prey on the nests.

 

Conservation status:  This species has an extremely large range, and the population trend appears to be stable.   IUCN Red listed as Least Concern; AZA has a Studbook and PMP.

 

Bibliography

 

 A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Graham Pizzey. 1980. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. Pgs. 322.

IUCN Redlist

 

Handbook of the Birds of the World, Volume 13, Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Del Hoyo, J. Elliott, A. & Christie, D. A. eds. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. 2008. Pgs 519, 530, 543, 550, 564,565, 570, 676.