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A photo of a Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia)
Regent Honeyeater

Regent Honeyeater

Anthochaera phrygia

The Regent Honeyeater, with its scientific name Anthochaera phrygia, is a bird of striking contrast and regal bearing. Its glossy black head and neck are complemented by a breast adorned with pale yellow speckles. The wings and tail feathers are a dramatic black and bright yellow, creating a visual spectacle reminiscent of an embroidered tapestry.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the Regent Honeyeater, look for the distinctive black and yellow plumage, particularly the yellow-edged tail and wing feathers. The male and female are similar in appearance, making them indistinguishable in the field.


This species is found in woodlands and open forests, particularly those dominated by eucalyptus trees. They are also known to frequent mistletoe plants, which are a key food source.


Once widespread across southeastern Australia, the Regent Honeyeater's range has contracted significantly. It is now primarily found in north-eastern Victoria, the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales, and the central coast of New South Wales.


Regent Honeyeaters are nomadic, moving in response to the flowering of eucalyptus and mistletoe. They are known for their agility in flight and their sociable nature during feeding.

Song & Calls

The song of the Regent Honeyeater is a complex and melodious warble, but with the decline in population, there has been a noted simplification in their vocal repertoire. Alarmingly, some males have even been observed mimicking the calls of other bird species.


Breeding typically occurs from August to January, aligning with the bloom of key flora. They construct cup-shaped nests where the female lays two to three eggs. However, breeding success is low due to high predation rates and a skewed adult sex ratio favoring males.

Similar Species

The Regent Honeyeater can be confused with other honeyeaters, but its distinctive coloration and larger size compared to many honeyeaters help differentiate it.

Diet and Feeding

Nectar from eucalyptus and mistletoe forms the bulk of their diet, supplemented by insects, honeydew, and occasionally native and cultivated fruits.

Conservation Status

The Regent Honeyeater is critically endangered, with habitat loss cited as a primary threat. The population is estimated to be around 250 individuals in the wild, and the species faces the risk of extinction without significant conservation efforts.

Conservation Efforts

Conservation initiatives include habitat restoration, a captive breeding program, and the release of birds into the wild to bolster the population. Monitoring and research continue to inform conservation strategies for this imperiled species.

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Regent Honeyeaters on Birda

A map showing the sighting location
Steph Cottee
02 Feb 2024 - 7:28pm

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