Honeyeater Photo Galleries

Honeyeaters belong to the Meliphagidae family. The first three galleries display subfamilies Spinebills, NZ Bellbirds, Australian Chats and Allies (Gliciphilinae), Honeyeaters, Wattlebirds, Miners (Meliphaginae) and Friarbirds and Allies (Philemoninae). See Honeyeater Taxonomy note at the end of this page. The final galleries show images of honeyeater behaviour.

I photographed the featured species in forest, woodland or garden habitat. And in both tropical and temperate regions of Australia and New Zealand. Although primarily Australasian some family members also inhabit Papua New Guinea, Wallacea and some pacific islands.

Spinebills, NZ Bellbirds, Australian Chats and Allies

Spinebills, NZ Bellbirds, Australians Chat and Allies Notes

All the species shown in the gallery are ‘Red List 2019’ assessed as ‘Least Concern’. About half the species displayed in the gallery are Australian endemics; all the New Zealand species are endemics; other species are endemic to Australia and Papua New Guinea or Wallacea. I photographed most species at the top end and in Queensland possibly because I spent more time there than in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Just three featured images show birds that exhibit plumage dimorphism. Some honeyeaters can be challenging to photograph, although vocal and easily spotted; they are often high up in the forest canopy. The species are not the most colourful birds, and some would say they are drab and can be challenging to identify, as the image of an immature brown honeyeater.

Honeyeaters, Wattlebirds, Miners

Honeyeaters, Wattlebirds, Miners Notes

All the species shown in the gallery are ‘Red List 2019’ assessed as ‘Least Concern’. All the displayed honeyeaters are Australian endemics. I photographed most species in this gallery in Queensland.

Friarbirds and Allies

Friarbirds and Allies Notes

All the species shown in the gallery are ‘Red List 2019’ assessed as ‘Least Concern’. Over half the featured species inhabit Australia and Papua New Guinea or Wallacea. I photographed most species at the top end and in Queensland.

Some honeyeaters can be challenging to photograph, although vocal and easily spotted; they are often high up in the forest canopy.

Honeyeater Behaviour

Behaviour Notes

This gallery features images of honeyeaters that were foraging, feeding, hunting, flying, vocalising or displaying aggressive behaviour.

The Australian Garden in the Royal Botanical Gardens, Cranbourne attracts many species that feed on native plants. I photographed a male scarlet myzomela here, apparently a rare visitor being east of its normal range together with a Common New Holland honeyeater and little wattlebird. Townsville Common in Queensland was a real surprise with many species to photograph.

Tui is a common aggressive New Zealand species with an unmistakable vocal call. I photographed two in aerial combat; I assume one was defending a feeding territory.

Honeyeater Taxonomy

Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae) are basal oscines placed in parvorder Meliphagida part of suborder Passeri, J Boyd Taxonomy in Flux refers. There are three main Meliphagidae subfamilies:

(a) Gliciphilinae comprises three tribes: Acanthorhynchini (Spinebills, NZ Bellbirds), Gliciphilini, and Epthianurini (Australian Chats & allies);

(b) Meliphaginae contains one tribe Meliphagini (Honeyeaters, Wattlebirds, Miners);

(c) Philemoninae (Friarbirds & allies) with four tribes: Philemonini (Friarbirds and allies), Myzomelini (Myzomela and allies), Phylidonyrini, and Melithreptini.