Fun Noisy Friarbird Facts For Kids

Abhijeet Modi
Oct 20, 2022 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Amazing noisy friarbird facts that are informative and fun to learn.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.0 Min

The noisy friarbird (Philemon corniculatus) is a bird species in the family of honeyeaters (Meliphagidae). These birds are native to eastern Australia and New Guinea. In Australia, their distribution range extends from northeastern Victoria to Cape York. Their habitat distribution can be observed in heathlands, shrublands, wet forests, dry forests, and eucalypt woodlands. They prefer dry regions as their nesting areas. They are migratory birds that move to the north during the breeding season and return to the south in spring (September). These Australian birds have a unique call which is a 'four o'clock' sound.

Various distinctive identification features include the silver-white tail, the knob or casque bump on the bill, and the bald black head. The breeding season of these birds is from July to January. They build their large, deep-cup nest with bark and grass, waving from trees at a particular site. Their nest is normally placed in a well-hidden site. The diet of this bird mainly consists of nectar, insects, eggs of other birds, and fruit. They spend most of their life feeding on nectar on tall trees and seldom come down on the ground to feed on insects, mostly in groups.

To know more about other birds species, you can also check out these Ani bird facts and Anna's hummingbird facts.

Noisy Friarbird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Noisy Friarbird?

The noisy friarbird, commonly known as a leatherhead, is a type of Passerine bird species in the family Meliphagidae. It is native to Australia but is also present in New Guinea.

What class of animal does a Noisy Friarbird belong to?

The noisy friarbird (Philemon corniculatus) belongs to the class Aves in phylum Chordata. This species is a member of the honeyeater family.

How many Noisy Friarbirds are there in the world?

The total population size of noisy friarbirds has not been identified yet.

Where does a Noisy Friarbird live?

The noisy friarbird, or leatherhead, is a native to Australia. The distribution of the noisy friarbird extends from the vicinity of Lakes Entrance and the Murray Valley in northeastern Victoria to the north through New South Wales and Queensland to Cape York. However, in New Guinea, it is limited to the south of the island, where it is plentiful. This bird is usually found in eastern Australia. In eastern Australia, the bird is migratory and winters in the north and returns to the south in the spring. Their nests are generally built by females in which to lay and incubate their eggs. Their nests are cup-shaped and are large in size, built from grass, spider webs, and sticks.

What is a Noisy Friarbird's habitat?

The habitat of the noisy friarbird (Australia) includes dry and eucalyptus forests, coastal scrub, wetlands, and wet forests. This Australian bird is also found in various climate zones, stretching into dry regions along rivers.

Who do Noisy Friarbirds live with?

The noisy friarbird can be seen in large aggregations, often forming a group with other friarbirds.

How long does a Noisy Friarbird live?

The lifespan of the noisy friarbird (Philemon corniculatus) is unknown.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of noisy friarbirds in their natural range is from July to January, usually having two broods in this period. They form a large, deep cup nest with a modified rim or lip, formed of bark and grass, laced with spider webs, swinging from a tree branch, 33.9-118.1 in (1-3 m) off the ground generally well-hidden. Their clutch size is two to four eggs that measure 0.87 in×1.30 in (22×33 mm). The noisy friarbird eggs are buff to pale pink with dark pink-brown or purple blotches. Only female birds incubate the eggs, but both parents feed their offspring.

What is their conservation status?

Noisy honeyeaters are big members of the honeyeater family. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed noisy friarbirds as a species of Least Concern. This honeyeater species has a notably great range and therefore does not approach the thresholds for vulnerable within its range. Its population trend is also stable.

Noisy Friarbird Fun Facts

What do Noisy Friarbirds look like?

Noisy Friarbird perched on a tree

Noisy friarbirds are about 12–14 in (30.4–35.5 cm) long. These are honeyeater birds with pale brown-gray upperparts and dull brown-gray underparts, except for the belly and chest. The feathers are throughout the upper breast and throat. Their tail is silver-white with a white tip. They have a distinctive bare black head that is entirely bald except that there are bunches of feathers under the chin and near the eyebrow. An absolutely bare head is unusual in the species. These birds can be seen in small groups, generally up in a tree. Both Noisy friarbird males and noisy friarbird females look alike. They have a very small head in proportion to their body size.

The noisy friarbird's appearance can be distinguished by its prominent casque (bump), horn, or knob on its strong bill, which can be seen from a distance. The bird possesses red eyes and deep blue-black legs. The most distinctive feature of the noisy friarbird is its bare black head, which differs this bird from similar types of bird species. It can be differentiated from the similar-looking red wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata) when flying with clear unstreaked upperparts, a tail with a white tip, a special black head, and a strong bill.

How cute are they?

Although the noisy friarbird (Philemon corniculatus) is a fascinating species with unique looks, they are not that cute in appearance.

How do they communicate?

Noisy friarbirds communicate through calls. One of their calls is described as a 'four o'clock' call. Sometimes, their continuous chattering and cackling calls can be heard everywhere in the forests. They use their calls to identify their feeding territories and also to announce the availability of food sources. Their calls are harsh, noisy, and dissonant deep honking sounds; 'owk owk' or 'tobacco.'

How big is a Noisy Friarbird?

The usual size of the noisy friarbird is 12–14 in (30.4–35.5 cm), which is 20 times bigger than the red-headed finch.

How fast can a Noisy Friarbird fly?

The flying speed of the noisy Friarbird has not been estimated yet.

How much does a Noisy Friarbird weigh?

The noisy friarbird (Philemon corniculatus) weighs around 3-4.6 oz (85-130 g), which is 20 times heavier and bigger than a cardinal bird.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for male and female noisy friarbirds.

What would you call a baby Noisy Friarbird?

Like other bird species, the baby noisy friarbird is commonly known as a chick.

What do they eat?

The diet of noisy friarbirds consists of fruit, nectar, and various species of insects and other invertebrates. Sometimes they also feed on eggs and other baby birds. They like to consume commercially grown fruit, such as berries and grapes, which results in a direct fight with humans. Due to this, they are often regarded as pests. These birds mostly spend their time feeding on nectar high up in trees. They only come down to the ground to feed on insects and other invertebrates like worms, reptiles, earthworms, spiders, and so on. These birds usually feed in flocks with other honeyeater species, such as red wattlebirds.

Are they dangerous?

No, noisy friarbirds are not dangerous birds. However, they can harm fruit crops and therefore result in low yields for farmers.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, they can definitely make a good pet. However, their vulture-like appearance may not attract people to pet them. Their call is unique in the wild and differs from other bird calls.

Did you know...

Noisy friarbirds usually pair for life, with both sexes defending the nest.

What is unique about Noisy Friarbirds?

Noisy friarbirds are differentiated from other friarbird species by having a totally naked black head and top of their neck.

How did Noisy Friarbirds get their name?

In 1790, the ornithologist John Latham first described the name of noisy friarbird. The generic name comes from the Old Greek philēmōn 'affectionate, kissing', while their specific name has been derived from the Latin corniculum, which means '(having a) little horn'. The noisy friarbird is sometimes referred to as a leatherhead. The Eora and Darug population of the Sydney basin used the name Wirgan for the bird. Molecular research indicates its closest relative to be the silver-crowned friarbird in the genus Philemon. DNA evaluation has proven honeyeaters to be associated with the Acanthizidae (Australian warblers, scrub wrens, thornbills), Pardalotidae (pardalotes), and Maluridae (Australian fairy-wrens) within the big superfamily Meliphagidae.

The noisy friarbird's common name has been derived from its bald head appearance with clusters of feathers under its chin and near the eyebrow. Also, their noisy and harsh deep honking sound is the reason they are called 'noisy.'

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 black cuckoo facts and Alexandrine parakeet facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our free printable Noisy friarbird coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

Abhijeet Modi picture

Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

Read full bio >