Australian Bush Birds
Helmeted Friarbird  -  Philemon buceroides
Helmeted Friarbird Helmeted Friarbird
Helmeted Friarbird has a harsh, repetitive call. This version (yorki) has a large knob on the bill.
map map The Helmeted Friarbird - Philemon buceroides - is a medium to large honeyeater (32 to 36 centimetres long) characterised by the silver crown, frilled whitish nape, large gently sloping knob on bill and bare, leaden-grey facial skin. Back, rump and tail are grey-brown; underparts are paler, silvery-brown and lightly streaked. Iris is red-brown. The call is a harsh, repetitive squawk, impossible to ignore. Males and female adults are similar; juveniles have smaller knobs and the throat and breast are less streaked.

There are three variants of this species; yorki is found along the east coast of Queensland and has a large knob on the bill (see photographs above); gordoni is a smaller bird living on Melville Island; ammitophila is a larger bird known as the "Sandstone Friarbird" in Arnhem Land and has a small bill knob.

In Queensland the Helmeted Friarbird inhabits margins of rainforest, monsoon forests, mangroves and eucalyptus woodlands. Feeds largely on nectar and fruit; also feeds on insects caught in flowers and bark or taken in flight. Aggressive towards other birds around feeding sites and often noisy in foraging mobs.

This is a common, nomadic bird which follows seasonal flowering. The Silver-crowned Friarbird is similar but has a different shape knob on the bill and different shaped bare facial skin.