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Keep an Eye to the Sky: Nesting White-Plumed Honeyeaters

— by Caragh

A bougainvillea in my yard has been home to some breeding White-plumed Honeyeaters (Lichenostomus penicillatus) over the last couple of weeks. The nest is a delicate hanging cup made of grasses and spider web, lined with miscellaneous fur. I only discovered them when they were a few days old and in a little over a week they left the nest, sitting about right with the 14 day nestling period. The parents had kept things quiet over the incubation period (also 14 days) but as the chicks approached their fledging time they made an absolute racket (despite attempts by the parents to pipe them down). This attracted a lot of attention from a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae), but the parents defended the nest with vigour and the offending visitor got a few blows to the head before retreating to a safe distance. The parents were kept busy with regular feeding intervals, searching high and low for new sources of food to satiate the young ones. The two chicks left the nest a day apart and stayed nearby in a Ghost Gum while they strengthened their wings. Now they are off and exploring their new world!

This week is an eventful one in the bird world, with plenty of activities taking place for the Red Centre Bird Festival – Check out the  Program to see how you can get involved!

White-plumed Honeyeaters at approximately 4 days old
White-plumed Honeyeaters at approximately 4 days old
White-plumed Honeyeaters at approximately 13 days old
White-plumed Honeyeaters at approximately 13 days old
White-plumed Honeyeater adult guarding the nest
White-plumed Honeyeater adult guarding the nest
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike retreating after getting too close to a White-plumed Honeyeater nest
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike retreating after getting too close to a White-plumed Honeyeater nest