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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 12, 2021

19 Amaze-wing Facts About The Brown Honeyeater For Kids

Brown honeyeater facts are sure to surprise you.

The brown honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta) is a species of honeyeater that has several special adaptations of the tongue and bill to feed on nectar. As such, the brown honeyeater feeds mostly on honey and nectar, apart from small insects that it may catch on the ground or in mid-flight. Imagine being able to find food while flying! They may feed alone or as a group of a small number of individuals. The brown honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta) habitat's distribution is common throughout New Guinea, Western Australia, and infrequently in New Zealand. They are known to steer clear of the coast and other high-humidity regions. This species is also often called the Queensland brown honeyeater or the Australian brown honeyeater due to its large presence in that Australian region. It shares New Guinea habitats with the brown-backed honeyeater, a very similar-looking species of the same family. The brown honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta) is able to live in a wide range of wooded habitats including mangroves, eucalyptus woodlands and stretches where mangroves merge into forests. They usually nest inside or on top of the bark of trees but do not go too high above the ground, making their young hatchlings and eggs prone to ant attacks.

This bird species is semi-nomadic in nature and follows flowering plants across the country.  There is no set breeding season for the brown honeyeater. They may practice breeding twice a year if conditions are favorable.  The brown honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta) is well-known for its beautiful call, often described as the best amongst all species of honeyeater. Brown honeyeaters have a largely drab body and bill coloring that may be difficult to distinguish from similar species like the dark-brown honeyeater and other species of the honeyeater bird without closer inspection. They have a yellow and dark olive coloring on the wing and a pale yellow tuft of feathers near the eye.

If you enjoy this facts page on the brown honeyeater, make sure to check out our fact pages on the palm warbler and the Blackburnian warbler.

Brown Honeyeater Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a brown honeyeater?

Brown honeyeaters are a species of bird.

What class of animal does a brown honeyeater belong to?

Brown honeyeaters are classified as Aves, the class containing a huge range of bird species from the sea eagle to the bee hummingbird. In this class, it belongs to the family Meliphagidae which contains a diverse range of small bird species.

How many brown honeyeaters are there in the world?

While the exact population of brown honeyeater birds in the world is not known, they are considered to be pretty abundant in their habitats in Australia and New Guinea.

Where does a brown honeyeater live?

The brown honeyeater is considered a generalist Oceania species, meaning its distribution stretches across a wide variety of habitats throughout the continent. It does, however, seem to want to avoid the coast as it cannot be found there. It is native and endemic to Australia.

What is a brown honeyeater's habitat?

The brown honeyeater is able to adapt to a wide range of wooded habitats throughout Australia and New Guinea including eucalyptus woodlands, shrublands, semi-arid inlands, and Australian flowering gardens. As long as there is enough nectar and insects to sustain its diet and the region is not near the coast, the brown honeyeater will happily live there.  

Who do brown honeyeaters live with?

Though the brown honeyeater is often seen alone, they may also graze in groups of around five or six birds. These groups may also contain individuals or pairs from different species altogether. During the breeding season, they are often seen foraging for nest materials in male-female pairs.

How long does a brown honeyeater live?

While the exact lifespan of the brown honeyeater has not been studied, similar species of bird have been known to live for around two years in the wild and over 10 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Brown honeyeaters reproduce sexually. After copulation, both male and female birds take part in nest-building and feeding the young hatchlings, though incubation of the eggs is usually only done by the female. Nonetheless, it is nice to see some family values in these birds, considering many other male birds in other species abandon their mate after breeding. Their average clutch size is two to three eggs. After around two weeks in the nest, the young birds fledge, meaning they are ready to learn to fly.

What is their conservation status?

The brown honeyeater is currently listed as a species of Least Concern according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Species. This means that they are largely abundant within their habitat range.

Brown Honeyeater Fun Facts

What do brown honeyeaters look like?

The brown honeyeater has a light gray-brown plumage, and the wings are colored dark olive and yellow. This bird also has a pale yellow tuft of feathers underneath its eyes. Its coloration is great for blending in with its habitat. The brown honeyeater's beak is black, long, and slender, perfect for probing deep within flowers. Young birds of this species look nearly the same as an adult but may be missing the yellow tuft beneath the eyes.

The brown honeyeater can be a challenge to spot in the wild.

How cute are they?

The brown honeyeater is one of the cutest birds out there, despite its dull coloration.

How do they communicate?

Brown honeyeaters have a variety of melodious and shrill calls they use to communicate with one another or express warnings. Both sexes call early in the morning, and the male may call throughout the day during its breeding season in an attempt to attract potential mates.

How big is a brown honeyeater?

An adult brown honeyeater grows to around 4.7–6.3 in (12–16 cm) in length, meaning it is around one and a half times the size of a calliope hummingbird and almost exactly the same size as a Kirtland's warbler.

How fast can a brown honeyeater fly?

While the exact flight speed of these birds has not been studied, similar birds have been known to be able to hit speeds of around 15 mph (24 kph).

How much does a brown honeyeater weigh?

An adult brown honeyeater weighs around 0.3–0.4 oz (9–11 g) which is almost featherweight.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Both males and females of this species can be referred to by the same name.

What would you call a baby brown honeyeater?

A baby bird is often called a hatchling, meaning a baby of this species is called a brown honeyeater hatchling.

What do they eat?

The brown honeyeater feeds on nectar, honey, and a small portion of fruits and nuts. Its diet which makes sense as it is called the eater of honey. This bird's diet also consists of flying insects including bees, wasps, mosquitoes, flies, and any other insects that you might commonly encounter in gardens. They are able to catch food while they are flying.

Are they dangerous?

No, not at all! They would much rather fly away than attack a human. However, as can be expected, a wild brown honeyeater that feels threatened with no means of escape may bite you, though their bite won't do any long-term harm.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, absolutely! They do not require much care and can be fed easily. They are extremely cute and can be tamed. They are often kept as pets in Australia.

Did you know...

Brown honeyeaters do not usually have to migrate during any season of the year since they are well-adapted to the conditions of their home countries. They can be spotted in Oceania during any time of the year, given you know where to search for them.

Do honeyeaters eat ants?

Yes, absolutely! Some of the species of ants commonly eaten by brown honeyeater birds include carpenter ants, green ants, and garden ants.

Where do honeyeaters nest?

Honeyeater birds have been seen nesting inside the bark of trees. If this is not possible, they will instead create their nest on top of a branch but do not seem to want to go too high to do so, presumably to make eating insects from the ground more convenient. However, this also leaves them vulnerable to nest robbers like snakes and eagles.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our vulturine guineafowl facts and Anna's hummingbird facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Brown honeyeater coloring pages.

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