Singing honeyeater

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Singing honeyeater
Lichenostomus virescens -Cape Schanck, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia-8.jpg
At Cape Schanck, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Meliphagidae
Genus: Lichenostomus
Species: L. virescens
Binomial name
Lichenostomus virescens
(Vieillot, 1817)

The singing honeyeater (Lichenostomus virescens) is a small bird found in Australia, and is part of the honeyeater family, Meliphagidae.[2] The bird lives in a wide range of shrub-land, wood-land and coastal habitat. It is relatively common and is widespread right across Australia west of the Great Dividing Range, through to the west coast and on Western Australian coastal islands. It does not occur in other countries. It was originally described as Meliphaga virescens lipferti, though now it is known as Lichenostomus virescens.[3]

The singing honeyeater can vary in length from 17–22 cm long (Simpson and Day, 1988 p. 232). Its over-all appearance is grey-brown, but it also has other, more distinctive, colors. The tail and wings are olive-green color with flashes of yellow as it flits about. There is a broad black stripe spanning from the behind the bird’s beak to the bird’s back, and a yellow streak immediately below this back from the eye. The bird’s song ranges from scratchy to melodious. The song also varies according to where they live. The singing honeyeater has many close relatives that have a similar general appearance or some details in common, with overlapping ranges and similar voices, so a bird identification guide with clear visuals may be essential to attain clear identity.

Singing honeyeaters will eat a variety of foods. This includes nectar, small insects, fruits, grubs, and berries. This makes them omnivorous creatures.

The singing honeyeaters breed between July and February. They are capable of forming longtime relationships with partners. When they are breeding, they show aggressive actions. Also they don’t have any particular color for their eggs, they all are different colors. Their nest is a cup of grass, plant stems, and spider webs.

The singing honeyeater lives in families. They will attack larger animals, if they feel threatened by them, or if they are in their territory. They have been known to attack intruders in mobs thus showing they are a community-like bird.

They associate with other species of birds, such as the brown honeyeater and the red wattlebird. It is different from many birds however, because it lacks the ability to communicate with other birds of the same species. As a study by M.C. Baker (1996) showed, the birds of the mainland did not respond to the songs of singing honey eaters found on an island off Australia’s west coast. The study showed that the songs of the birds on the island were smaller, had less song types, syllable types, and fewer syllables and notes per song.


  • "Birds in Backyards - Singing Honeyeater (Lichenostomus virescens) Fact sheet." Birds in Backyards.[1]
  • Baker, M.C.. Depauperate meme pool of vocal signals in an island population of singing honeyeaters. 51:4. Academic Press, 1996.
  • "Birds at the AALBG." Australian-Aridlands-Botanic-Garden.[2]

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