White-cheeked Honeyeater Jean and Fred/Flickr

White-cheeked Honeyeater

Phylidonyris nigra

Did You Know?

  • Although they look very similar, there is not much competition between White-cheeked and New Holland Honeyeaters, as they choose different perching sites and have different nesting seasons
FactBox Image

A medium-sized black and white honeyeater. It has large bright yellow tail and wing panels, with a large conspicuous white cheek patch on a mainly black head. Young birds are duller with brownish plumage.

Size

16-18 cm

Behaviour

Call

Squeaky “chip-chew, chippy chew” and “quick chip” or “hiccup”; Flight song “twee-ee-twee-ee”; Alarm call rapid “hee-hee-hee”

Diet

Mainly nectar and some insects. Forages on flowers, bark or in the air.

Flight

Active and noisy with swift, erratic flight.

Breeding

Birds pair monogamously for the breeding season, with males defending breeding territories that can be held for several years. Males aggressively attack other birds of their own and other species during the breeding season, but not familiar birds such as their own mates, relatives and resident neighbours. The female builds a cup-shaped nest from twigs, bark, and other plant materials, lined with pieces of flowers (e.g. Banksias, Isopogons). The nest is placed low in forked branches of trees or shrubs, often close to the ground, well-concealed in dense foliage or in long grass. The female lays 1 - 3 eggs. The female incubates the eggs for around 15 days. Both parents feed nestlings for 15 days.

Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • Courting/Mating

  • Calling

  • Feeding

  • Bird on chicks

  • Bird on eggs

  • Bird on nest

  • Bird feeding young

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

Year round. Breeding occurs: April – November in North East Queensland; August – November in NSW and South Western Australia

Where To Look

  • Endemic to eastern and south-western Australia, ranging from east of the Great Divide in Queensland through coastal NSW, becoming scattered south to Jervis Bay; Also in south-western Western Australia and from Perth northwards to Murchison River
  • Usually found in moist heathlands, as well as around wetlands and in forests or woodlands with a heath understorey
  • Found in both temperate and subtropical zones
  • In Perth, in the botanic gardens, but seasonally more common in gardens in northern Perth suburbs (Yanchep NP, Bungendore Park, Kalbarri NP, Badgingara NP, Lesueur NP, Tutanning NR, Dryandra Woodland, and Heathland 65 km east of Hyden on the Norseman Rd)
  • Look in parks, gardens and flowering street trees throughout range
  • Sometimes killed by cats
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

Similar Species

The New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) is very similar in size, shape and appearance, but can be distinguished easily by its white eye. Other differences include the much smaller white cheek patch and an eybrow starting from behind the eye (as opposed to starting at the base of the beak).

Other black and white honeyeaters are much smaller, including the Crescent (P. pyrrhoptera), Tawny-crowned (P. melanops) and White-fronted Honeyeaters (P. albifrons).