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The little friarbird (Philemon citreogularis) is found extensively in northern and eastern Australia. It also resides in parts of South Australia, Western Australia, and New South Wales. It is the smallest of the friarbirds and inhabits the savanna woodlands and forests dominated by eucalyptus trees. This bird species belongs to the honeyeaters and therefore, possesses the characteristic brush-tipped tongue which helps them to suck nectar from flowers.
The friarbird also preys on a variety of invertebrates and their larvae. These birds have a bare blue face and a curved bill. They can be extremely noisy, especially during their breeding season. The friarbird species are spotted mostly on trees and rarely on the ground. They feed alone or in small flocks. These birds are brown-gray in color with a sharp beak. They share similarities with silver-crowned friarbirds and other honeyeaters. Keep on reading to know more intriguing facts about the little friarbirds.
The little friarbird is the smallest bird of the friarbird family.
There is no specific data available on the total number of friarbirds available in the world. However, these bird species are quite abundantly found in all parts of Australia and they are known to have three subspecies.
A little friarbird (Philemon citreogularis) is seen extensively in north and eastern Australia. They also reside in New Guinea, New South Wales, and other parts of Western Australia and South Australia.
The little friarbird inhabits forests dominated by eucalyptus trees, grasslands, and savanna woodlands. They also prefer coastal areas and wetlands. These bird species are also spotted in mangrove forests. Friarbirds range in tropical areas mostly but are also seen in semi-arid regions. They are also spotted in orchards and gardens, where they are seen hovering near flowers for nectar.
The little friarbird is often seen in small flocks or in pairs during the breeding season. They are also seen alone sucking nectar or feeding on fruits and insects.
The lifespan of the little friarbird (Philemon citreogularis) is unknown. However, other honeyeaters of the Meliphagidae family, like Lewin's honeyeater, live for about five years in the wild.
Little friarbirds reproduce by laying about two to three eggs. These bird species are monogamous in nature. Both male and the female birds build their nest on the trees, preferably eucalyptus trees. These honeyeaters build a see-through large nest, which is cup-shaped and quite large. The nest is made up of soft materials like grass and is always present near a waterbody. The female birds incubate their eggs alone. The incubation period lasts for about 13-16 days. The young birds are fed by both parents. Feeding of nectar and small insects is done by the parents using their curved bill. The nest of these bird species is quite frequently parasitized by the eastern koel.
The little friarbird (Philemon citreogularis) is listed as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. Although their population is stable at the moment, large-scale deforestation, illegal poaching, and other destructive human activities have imposed a great threat to the population of these birds. Furthermore, several birds of prey and the brood parasite eastern koel can also affect the population of little friarbirds greatly.
Little friarbirds have a grayish-brown body with white striations in the breast region. Their face is bare and blue colored with a sharp protruding black colored bill. The description of these birds includes a characteristic curved bill. Their neck region is yellow or sometimes dull gray in color. Young birds are dark brown in color with patches of yellow on the neck and chin. Sexual dimorphism is seen in these birds, where the females are smaller than the males. These bird species are highly conspicuous and are difficult to be seen on the ground. They are found mostly on the trees near water bodies.
The little friarbird is quite cute due to its small body and brown plumage. Their characteristic curved bill and blue face make them extremely appealing.
Little friarbirds communicate by their distinctive double whistles. Their calls can be extremely noisy and high-pitched. Their noisy chattering is mostly audible during their breeding season or when they are gathered in flocks.
The little friarbird (Philemon citreogularis) is about 10.6 in (27 cm) in length and is slightly smaller than the noisy friarbird, which is about 12-14 in (30.4–35.5 cm).
The flying speed of little friarbirds is unknown. However, their small body size makes them capable enough to fly with great speed in the air and hover near flowers for nectar.
The weight of little friarbirds is about 0.1-0.2 lb (51-84 g). Therefore, this species of the friarbird is the smallest.
There are no specific names given to the male and female birds of this species.
A baby friarbird is called a chick.
Little friarbird food includes nectar and different kinds of fruits as well as their seeds. They feed their chicks nectar with their long curved beak. The little friarbird diet also includes various invertebrates and their larvae.
These bird species are not dangerous and do not impose any threat to humans. However, they are known to damage crops, thereby causing a significant loss in the yield for farmers.
These birds would definitely make good pets owing to their simple diet and peaceful nature. However, it is not recommended to keep these birds captive as they are wild in nature and love to fly from tree to tree in search of nectar and other food.
The name friarbird is derived from the shape of the crown present on their head. This crown is in a circular pattern with a drab coloration, which makes the bird look like a friar.
The little friarbird is a great contributor to entomophilous pollination and helps in dispersing a large number of seeds of different plants throughout the forest.
These birds are nomadic in nature and occasionally migrate from the north to the south during winters in search of food and water.
Friarbirds belong to the Philemon genus and are endemic to Australia and New Guinea island. There are a total of 15 species of friarbirds, each having its unique body colors and plumage.
The main difference between the little friarbird and the noisy friarbird is that the head of the noisy friarbird is entirely black. This bare blackhead is an unusual feature in this species, which makes it totally different from the little friarbird.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these African swallow facts and whippoorwill facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our free printable little friarbird coloring pages.
Second image by magdalena_b
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