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Philemon corniculatus - Glen Davis.jpg
Noisy friarbird, Philemon corniculatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Meliphagidae
Genus: Philemon
Vieillot, 1816

About 15 (see text)

  • Philedon

The friarbirds, also called leatherheads, are about 15 species of relatively large honeyeaters in the genus Philemon. Additionally, the single member of the genus Melitograis is called the white-streaked friarbird. Friarbirds are found in Australia, Papua New Guinea, eastern Indonesia, and New Caledonia. They eat nectar, insects and other invertebrates, flowers, fruit, and seeds.[1]

The friarbirds generally have drab plumage. They derive their name from the circular pattern at the crown of their heads and their neutral coloring, which makes them resemble friars. In many instances, their plumage is mimicked by smaller orioles, which use the aggressive nature of the friarbirds to avoid aggression themselves.[2]


The genus Philemon contains the following extant species:[3]

Formerly, some authorities also considered the black-eared oriole (as Philedon bouroensis) a species within the genus Philemon.


  1. ^ Higgins, Peter; Christidis, Les; Ford, Hugh (2008). "Family Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)". In del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew; Christie, David (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 13, Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 679–685. ISBN 978-84-96553-45-3.
  2. ^ Diamond J (1982). "Mimicry of friarbirds by orioles" (PDF). The Auk. 99 (2): 187–196.
  3. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Honeyeaters". World Bird List Version 6.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 31 January 2016.