Tag Archives: Macleay’s Honeyeater

Busy birds

I have managed to take a better photo of the Macleay’s Honeyeater – its not perfect but I am improving!  The birds enjoy our well sheltered bird baths but it does make photography more challenging in the low light.

20140606_Wild_Wings_Swampy_Things_Macleay's Honeyeater on birdbath

Macleay’s Honeyeater after enjoying a bath

Victoria’s Riflebirds have been seen feeding all about the property recently, all those sighted (so far) have been female or immature birds and most commonly eating fruit of the Bleeding Heart tree, Homalanthus populifolius.   However, we have also watched a Victoria’s Riflebird  feeding on the fruit of the native Costus,  Costus potierae,  which we have planted in our house garden.  Yellow-spotted Honeyeaters have also been eating the Costus fruit, so this plant is not only an attractive ornamental but a useful food plant for the birds.

Victoria's Riflebird, female or immature

Victoria’s Riflebird, female or immature

This male Double-eyed Fig Parrot was sitting on a branch close to my vegetable garden.  It had been feeding on the fruit of Red-leaf Fig, Ficus congesta. 

20140606_Wild_Wings_Swampy_Things_DE Fig Parrot

Double-eyed Fig Parrot race macleayana, male.

While this particular tree had obviously been visited by a number of fruit eating birds, it is not often the fruit of choice.  Many times we see the fruit quite untouched when other, more desirable, fruit is in abundance.  Red-leaf Figs are common pioneer species in areas of regenerating rainforest and provide a reliable source of food at times when the fruit of preferred species is unavailable.

20140606_Wild_Wings_Swampy_Things_Ficus congesta fruit

Red-leaf Fig, Ficus congesta. Detail of fruit on tree trunk.

After several different ‘poses’ on the branch this gorgeous little parrot stretched his jaw open wide, probably necessary after much processing of the tiny fig seed, although I confess it did look to me like a yawn.  And then he moved up higher in the tree out of sight and our photo session was over.

Double-eyed Fig Parrot stretching his jaw

Double-eyed Fig Parrot stretching his jaw

Fruit to share

Helmeted Friarbird eating

We grow Black Persimmon also known as Black Sapote (Diospyros digyana) in our tropical fruit orchard and although we do sell some of our crop there is always plenty to share with the birds.  We pick the fruit when it is still hard but those left on the tree become beautifully soft and mushy – perfect tucker for Honeyeaters and Silver-eyes.

As there are not many fruit soft and ripe enough for the birds at the one time there is considerable competition amongst them with the Helmeted Friarbird eagerly pushing the smaller birds out.

Macleay's Honeyeater

Macleay’s Honeyeater, an endemic species to our area, is cautious in its approach, waiting for an opportunity.  Although it can be quite bossy around smaller birds it is dominated by the louder and bigger Helmeted Friarbird.

Macleay's Honeyeater and fruit

At last, a chance to enjoy a sweet, nutritious feast. Black Persimmon is an excellent source of Vitamin C and also has good amounts of calcium and phosphorus.

It is delicious mixed with yoghurt or made into a ‘smoothie’ but the birds seem happy to eat it unadulterated.

Yellow-spotted Honeyeater

Nothing left of this fruit as this Yellow-spotted Honeyeater (I’m not entirely confident about ID) has just discovered but they’ll be more.   The crop extends over a couple of months so all the fruit lovers, ourselves included, will be well fed.