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Mangrove Honeyeater

Gavicalis fasciogularis

The Mangrove Honeyeater, known scientifically as Gavicalis fasciogularis, is a small to medium-sized bird that belongs to the honeyeater family Meliphagidae. Exhibiting an olive-brown plumage on its upper parts, the bird transitions to a greyish-brown on the rump and uppertail-coverts, with fine dark streaking adorning the top of its head and hindneck. A distinctive broad black mask extends down the side of its neck, complemented by a narrow yellow moustachial stripe ending in a small white tuft. The tail and upperwing are similarly olive-brown, while the chin and throat display a finely barred dark grey-brown and dull yellow. The bird's legs are a dark grey or bluish-grey, and the irises are a dark blue-grey. The bill is slightly down-curved and dark-grey. Males typically weigh between 23.9g to 33.1g, and females range from 22g to 30g.

Identification Tips

When identifying the Mangrove Honeyeater, look for the broad black mask and the yellow moustachial stripe with a white tuft. The olive-brown upper parts and the finely barred underparts are also key characteristics. The bird's slightly down-curved dark-grey bill is another distinguishing feature.

Habitat

The Mangrove Honeyeater is predominantly found in mangrove forests and woodlands that fringe coasts, bays, estuaries, and islands. It is less commonly seen in coastal shrubland, woodland, or scrub near mangroves.

Distribution

Endemic to Australia, the Mangrove Honeyeater's range extends from Townsville in Queensland to northern New South Wales. The species has been expanding its range southward in recent years.

Behaviour

The Mangrove Honeyeater is generally locally common within its range but is rarer in the southern parts. It is a local resident of Moreton Bay in Southeast Queensland, with numbers fluctuating seasonally, possibly due to local environmental changes.

Song & Calls

The song of the Mangrove Honeyeater is a loud, melodious, and ringing "whit-u-we-u," varying in tone. The calls can be described as scolding chatter, with smaller honeyeaters often producing musical sounds and larger ones emitting raucous noises.

Breeding

Monogamous by nature, the Mangrove Honeyeater breeds between August and December, with a peak in September. In northern regions, breeding may occur from April to May. Their nests are cup-shaped, constructed from dried grasses and seagrass or plant fiber, and bound with spider web and matted egg sacs. Both parents feed the nestlings and fledglings.

Similar Species

The Mangrove Honeyeater was once considered conspecific with the Varied Honeyeater but is now recognized as a separate species. It forms a genus with the Singing Honeyeater.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Mangrove Honeyeater consists mainly of nectar and invertebrates, with occasional fruit. They forage in mangroves and consume insects, marine snails, and crabs. They also feed on honeydew, manna, and lerp.

Conservation Status

The Mangrove Honeyeater is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. Its population size is not quantified, but the species is not considered vulnerable due to the size of its range, which has expanded over the last 50 years.

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Photos
Sightings

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

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

Acanthagenys rufogularis
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