|Australian Bush Birds|
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|Fuscous Honeyeater - Lichenostomus fuscus|
|Fuscous Honeyeater at a waterhole near Armidale, NSW.|
The Fuscous Honeyeater - Lichenostomus fuscus - is a fairly drab grey-brown bird; breeding adults have a black bill and a darker shaded area around the eye (sometimes described as 'bruised'). Non-breeding, or immature, birds have a yellow base to the bill and a fine-yellow eye-ring replacing the 'bruised" area.
At all times there is a fine yellow plume on the side of the neck with a fine dark line above it.
Wing and tail are olive-brown edged olive-yellow; back is dull grey-brown to olive-brown; underside is pale buff-grey. 15 to 17 centimetres.
Found along the east coast from about Cairns around to Spencer Gulf in South Australia and including all of Victoria. Range extends inland to the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range. Not found in Tasmania.
Inhabits forest, woodland, rainforest margins, river red gum forest, drier inland mallee and acacia scrub as well as coastal heath. A common bird, sedentary in habit with some local movement and seasonal movement in the south-east.
Usually feeds inconspicuously high in trees or in heath.
There is a gradual change in appearance from north to south; some regard this as local variation, others claim evidence of two sub-species; a yellowish subgermanus in north east Queensland to Bowen-Mackay then the dusky race fuscus to Victoria and South Australia. This species was once considered to be a sub-species of the Yellow-tinted Honeyeater (Lichenstomus flavescens).
Breeds from August to December. Nest is a cup of fine bark strips, grass and spider webs, lined with hair, wool and plant down and built in outer branchlets from 1 to 20 metres above the ground. Two or three eggs are laid, yellowish to buff-pink with faint red-brown or pale lilac spots. Incubation takes about 14 days.
¶ Genus Lichenstomus is in Family Meliphagidae containing Honeyeaters, Miners, Chats, Wattlebirds and Friarbirds.
¶ The Fuscous Honeyeater was formerly described as a sub-species of the Yellow-tinted Honeyeater (Lichenstomus flavescens) but is now a separate species.