The spiny-cheeked honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis) is the only species in the genus Acanthagenys. It is large for a honeyeater, ranging from 22 to 27 cm tall and weighing around 52 g. The birds are sociable, aggressive, and often observed foraging in large flocks.
The spiny-cheeked honeyeater is mainly frugivorous, but will also eat nectar, blossoms, insects, reptiles, and young birds. Its habitat includes deserts, coastal scrubland, and dry woodlands. It is also found in mangroves and orchards. Its range includes most of Australia, except for Tasmania, northern tropical areas, and the southeastern coast.
Its beak is long and straight with a black tip and a fleshy red or pink colour towards the chin and up to the gape. The characteristic face pattern includes a long, dark stripe through the eyes to the ear coverts. The breast is creamy-white with short, browny streaks. The throat is often a light brown or cinnamon, sometimes extending from the beak to the upper breast. The wing feathers are a mottled, dark olive-brown to grey with white edges. The tail has similar colouring, but the tips of the tail-feathers are white. The under-tail coverts are white or, on some birds, light grey, and often streaked.