Bell miner

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Bell miner
Bell Miner1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Meliphagidae
Genus: Manorina
Species: M. melanophrys
Binomial name
Manorina melanophrys
(Latham, 1801)

The bell miner (Manorina melanophrys), commonly known as the bellbird, is a colonial honeyeater endemic to southeastern Australia. The common name refers to their bell-like call. "Miner" is an old alternative spelling of the word "myna" and is shared with other members of the genus Manorina.[2] The birds feed almost exclusively on the dome-like coverings, referred to as "bell lerps", of certain psyllid bugs that feed on eucalyptus sap from the leaves. The psyllids make these bell-lerps from their own honeydew secretions in order to protect themselves from predators and the environment.

Bell miners live in large, complex social groups. Within each group there are subgroups consisting of several breeding pairs, but also including a number of birds who are not currently breeding. The nonbreeders help in providing food for the young in all the nests in the subgroup, even though they are not necessarily closely related to them.[3] The birds defend their colony area communally aggressively, excluding most other passerine species. They do this in order to protect their territory from other insect-eating birds that would eat the bell lerps on which they feed. Whenever the local forests die back due to increased lerp psyllid infestations, bell miners undergo a population boom.

Bouloumba Creek, SE Queensland, Australia

Popular culture[edit]

  • The Australian television series Bellbird carries the name.
  • There is a piano exercise "Bell Bird" composed by 11-year-old pianist Reene Lees published in the Australian Musical Magazine for 1894 [4]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Manorina melanophrys". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ For the derivation of "miner" from "myna", see comment at Common Indian Myna [1] Retrieved 12 September 2013
  3. ^ Clarke, M. F. (1989). The pattern of helping in the bell miner (Manorina melanophrys). Ethology, 80, 292-306
  4. ^

External links[edit]

  • Bell Miner Associated Dieback [2]