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Species Guide

Spotted Honeyeater

Xanthotis polygrammus

The Spotted Honeyeater, a member of the Meliphagidae family, is a medium-small bird, with a length ranging from 15 to 17 centimeters. It is adorned with a dark head and neck, punctuated by white spots at the nape. A distinctive pink ring encircles the eye, adding a touch of color to its visage. The back is a canvas of dark hues, sprinkled with small white spots, while the underparts are a pale white with a lime tint, intricately patterned with darker markings. The tail feathers blend brown and gray, and the underwing coverts are white. A white throat, black bill, and gray legs complete its striking appearance. Males and females are similar in plumage, though males are slightly larger.

Identification Tips

To identify the Spotted Honeyeater, look for its moderately long and slightly curved bill, the unique pink facial skin around the eye, and the white-spotted dark plumage. These features are key to distinguishing it from other species.


This species thrives in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, where it can be found flitting through the verdant undergrowth or exploring the lofty canopy.


The Spotted Honeyeater graces the landscapes of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, where it is a resident bird.

Diet and Feeding

An eclectic feeder, the Spotted Honeyeater's diet is primarily composed of insects, worms, and other invertebrates, which it deftly forages in the understory vegetation. It also partakes in nectar and fruit, such as figs, found in the forest canopy and among flowering plants. Observations suggest that while it forages alone or in pairs, it is most often seen alone, with a preference for the understory and upper canopy.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

The Spotted Honeyeater is typically a quiet bird, but when in small groups, it may become more vocal. Its calls are characterized by a repeated two-note whistle, described as "wu-déé," and occasionally a descending "tup."

Conservation Status

As of the latest assessment by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2018, the Spotted Honeyeater is classified as Least Concern. Its extensive range and stable population trend contribute to this status, with no immediate threats leading to a decline in numbers.

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Spotted Honeyeaters on Birda

A map showing the sighting location
Edward Clifford
01 Jan 1900 - 12:00am
Papua New Guinea

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A photo of a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

Acanthagenys rufogularis
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