Australian Bush Birds
Brown Honeyeater  -  Lichmera indistincta
Brown Honeyeater
The Brown Honeyeater has a grey-brown back with greenish-yellow edging. The edge of the bill (the gape) is yellow in females and immature birds. Breeding males have a black gape; non-breeding males have a 'yellowish' gape.
Brown Honeyeater
The Brown Honeyeater has a prominent, curved bill. Many birds have a spangled yellow and white triangle behind the eye but this is not found on all examples.
The Brown Honeyeater - Lichmera indistincta - has dull grey-brown upper parts, washed greyer on the crown and yellow-green (citrine) on flight and tail feathers. Throat and upper breast pale brownish grey, grading to white over the belly, flanks and under the tail. Feet are grey-brown. Bill is long, curved and black; the gape line on the edge of the bill is yellow in females and immatures, yellowish in non-breeding males and black in breeding males. Eyes are grey-brown; there is a triangular spot spangled yellow and white behind the eye, this spot is not always fully developed and may be only white or not present.

Brown Honeyeater - page 2
map map Females and males are similar in appearance, males are significantly larger. 110 to 150 millimetres. Immature birds are generally the same as adults but are yellower brown above and yellow-cream below.

The Brown Honeyeater is a strong singer.

Found across tropical Australia and down the east and west coasts. On the east coast down to the Hunter Valley in NSW. Lives in thickets, shrubbery, pockets of scrub, rainforest edges and mangrove fringes. Primarily feeds on nectar using the long curved beak which is well adapted to reach into long flowers; while doing so the bird is pollinated by the flower and carries that pollen to the next flower. They converge on profusely blossoming trees, particularly paperbarks and mangroves, to feed on flowers at all levels from crown to ground. Males sing from branches to advertise feeding territory but are often then chased away by larger honeyeaters. When flowers are not available Brown Honeyeaters eat insects, catching them among foliage and in midair after short flights from trees.

Breeds from June to January in solitary pairs occupying much the same nesting territory year after year. Only the female builds the nest; a cup of bark strips, grass, down and wool, bound with cobwebs and lined with down and hair. Slung in foliage or fronds less than 2 metres above ground, often over water.

Eggs, two, matt white, freckled faint brown, mostly at the large end; swollen oval, about 17 by 13 millimetres. Incubated by the female alone for about 14 days; young fledge in about 14 days. Male keeps watch on a nearby branch and sings in defence of the nest.
Brown Honeyeater Brown Honeyeater
The Brown Honeyeater feeding on flowers, Northern Territory.

Similar Species. The coloured gape and triangle behind the eye are distinctive but not always present.

Also found in part of Indonesia (New Guinea and the Lesser Sunda Islands).