Yellow-spotted honeyeater

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Yellow-spotted honeyeater
Meliphaga notata - Daintree Village.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Meliphagidae
Genus: Meliphaga
M. notata
Binomial name
Meliphaga notata
(Gould, 1867)

The yellow-spotted honeyeater (Meliphaga notata) is a species of bird in the family Meliphagidae. It is also known as the lesser lewin.[2] The bird is endemic to northern Queensland. The bird's common name refers to the yellow patch members of the species have behind their eyes.[3]

The yellow-spotted honeyeater is olive, brown, and gray in color. The bird's weight ranges from around 23 to 30 grams, and the wingspan ranges from about 8 to 9 centimeters. The species contains two subspecies, which are known as Meliphaga notata notata and Meliphaga notata mixta. Yellow-spotted honeyeaters are aggressive and have a loud and metallic call.


The yellow-spotted honeyeater is olive-brown on the top and olive-gray on the bottom. However, there are brighter yellow areas on the bird's head. The bird has brown legs, feet, eyes, and a brown beak. It is 16 to 20 centimetres (6.3 to 7.9 in) in size.[2]

The mass of male yellow-spotted honeyeaters ranges from 24 to 29.5 grams, and averages at 27 grams. Females range from 23.5 to 30 grams, and average at 25.9 grams.[4]

For the subspecies Meliphaga notata notata, the average wingspan is 8.6 to 9.1 centimetres (3.4 to 3.6 in) for males and 7.9 to 8.3 centimetres (3.1 to 3.3 in) for females. For the subspecies Meliphaga notata mixta, the average wingspan is 8.3 to 8.7 centimetres (3.3 to 3.4 in) for males and 7.7 to 8.1 centimetres (3.0 to 3.2 in) for females.[5]


The bird largely lives in the tropical rainforests of North Queensland in extreme northeastern Australia, between Mackay and northern Cape York Peninsula.[6][7] However, sightings have occurred in east-central or even southeastern Australia.[6] In 1901, it was also said to inhabit New Guinea.[8]

Yellow-spotted honeyeaters typically live at elevations of 200 metres (660 ft) or greater.[6] They have been observed at elevations as high as 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above sea level, although they are not often observed above 500 metres (1,600 ft).[8][9] While the birds typically live in forests, they have been known to visit suburbs with sufficient tree cover.[10] They have even been observed in some cities that use local plants for landscaping. The species lives in both open forests and forests with an understory of shrubs.[11]

The yellow-spotted honeyeater co-exists with the graceful honeyeater.[12]

Population status[edit]

The yellow-spotted honeyeater is on the "least concern" category of the IUCN Red List. The total population of the species is neither increasing nor decreasing. The size of its range is over 110,000 square kilometers.[13]


The call of the yellow-spotted honeyeater has been described as a metallic, high-pitched, and "rattling song consisting of four to five “ee-yeu” repetitions".[2][14] The bird's call has also been said to sound like a "machine gun rattle".[14] It eats insects, nectar, and fruit.[2] Its body is partially horizontal when perching.[9]

The yellow-spotted honeyeater is loud and aggressive. It tends to live in groups of one, two, or at most several birds.[9] It does not migrate.[15]

Nests, eggs, and breeding[edit]

The nest of the yellow-spotted honeyeater is cup-shaped, usually secured at three points, and made of interwoven bark and light plant material.[2][8] It often nests in bushes.[8] However, it also nests in trees.[6][8] The nest is usually 1.75 inches (4.4 cm) to 3.00 inches (7.6 cm) deep and 3.50 inches (8.9 cm) to 4.00 inches (10.2 cm) across. The actual area of the nest where the eggs are kept ranges from 1.50 inches (3.8 cm) to 2.00 inches (5.1 cm) deep and 2.50 inches (6.4 cm) to 3.00 inches (7.6 cm) across.[8]

The eggs of the yellow-spotted honeyeater range between inclined and elliptical and have a glossy surface. While most of the egg is typically white, there are some purple or brown patches at the top of it. The eggs typically are laid two at a time, but are sometimes laid three at a time.[8]

The birds breed between August and January.[6] Young birds hatch after about two weeks of incubation and leave the nest after another two weeks or so.[2]

One generation for the birds lasts about 5.5 years.[15]


The yellow-spotted honeyeater belongs to the order Passeriformes and the family Meliphagidae.[7][16] The species may consist of two subspecies: Meliphaga notata notata and Meliphaga notata mixta. The former was described by Gould in 1867 and the latter was described by Matthews in 1912.[16]

A bird similar to the yellow-spotted honeyeater was described in 1844.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Meliphaga notata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Yellow-spotted Honeyeater, retrieved November 30, 2013
  3. ^ Jeannie Gray; Ian Fraser (2013), Australian Bird Names: A Complete Guide, retrieved November 30, 2013
  4. ^ John B. Dunning Jr. (December 5, 2007), CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses (Second ed.), retrieved November 30, 2013
  5. ^ R Schodde; IJ Mason (October 1, 1999), Directory of Australian Birds: Passerines: Passerines, retrieved November 30, 2013
  6. ^ a b c d e Yellow-spotted Honeyeater, retrieved November 30, 2013
  7. ^ a b Australian Wildlife / Birds - Passerines 2 / Yellow-spotted Honeyeater, retrieved November 30, 2013
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Archibald James Campbell (1901), Nests and eggs of Australian birds: including the geographical distribution of the species and popular observations thereon, Volumes 1-2, retrieved November 30, 2013
  9. ^ a b c Michael K. Morcombe (2003), Field guide to Australian birds, retrieved November 30, 2013
  10. ^ Michael McCoy (October 1, 2010), Reef and Rainforest, retrieved November 30, 2013
  11. ^ John Chambers, YELLOW HONEYEATER, retrieved November 30, 2013
  12. ^ Richard Thomas; Sarah Thomas; David Andrew; Alan McBride (February 23, 2011), The Complete Guide to Finding the Birds of Australia, retrieved November 30, 2013
  13. ^ LC: Yellow-spotted Honeyeater Meliphaga notata, 2013, retrieved November 30, 2013
  14. ^ a b Kim Sterelny (January 1, 2012), The Evolved Apprentice: How Evolution Made Humans Unique, retrieved November 30, 2013
  15. ^ a b LC: Yellow-spotted Honeyeater Meliphaga notata, 2013, retrieved November 30, 2013
  16. ^ a b Yellow-spotted Honeyeater (Meliphaga notata), retrieved November 30, 2013

External links[edit]