Australian Bush Birds
Little Friarbird  -  Philemon citreogularis
Little Friarbird
Little Friarbird with prominent pale blue facial patch. (Casino, NSW)
Little Friarbird
Little Friarbird on bottlebrush at Casino, NSW
Little Friarbird Little Friarbird
Little Friarbird head with blue patch under the eye and strong, curved beak. The right photograph shows the fine, silky silver-white feathers on the chin and the silver-white drop-streaks on the breast.
Little Friarbird - page 2
map map The Little Friarbird - Philemon citreogularis - has a grey brown head and dark eye. Dark feathers above and below the bare, bluish-black facial skin especially under the eye. Whitish nape; dark grey-brown back, silvery-white streaks on breast. Under parts pale grey. Smaller than other friar birds and lacks the knob on the beak carried by them.

Male and females are similar in appearance, males are larger (25-30 centimetres long). Immature birds are similar to adults but plumage and naked skin are lighter in colour. Back, shoulders and rump are mottled with white. Chin and throat washed yellow; broad yellow scallops on side of the breast; indistinct grey band across breast. Flight feathers indistinctly edged green-yellow

Lives in open forest and woodlands, river-edge and swamp woodlands, mangroves, gardens, avoids heavy forest. Lives alongside Noisy and Silver-crowned Friarbirds but generally keeps to more open habitats. The Little Friarbird forages among flowers of outer foliage and takes insects on the wing. It is a flower-following nomad, similar to other friarbirds in pugnacious, noisy behaviour; as a smaller bird it loses fights over flowering food branches with larger Noisy Friarbirds but chases off honeyeaters smaller than itself.

Tends to specialise in exploiting small patches of flowering eucalyptus and paperbarks not often visited by larger honeyeaters; there it feeds in the outer foliage on nectar from blossoms as well as fruit and insects. It drinks and bathes daily, skimming the surface of pools or fluttering through sprays, and rarely strays far from water. Rarely seen on the ground.

A common species, sometimes locally abundant. Found across northern Australia from the Kimberley, through NT, to eastern Queensland, and down the eastern side of the continent to Central Victoria. Little Friarbirds in the north are locally nomadic following flowering trees; birds living in, and south of, southern Queensland move to north-eastern Queensland over winter and return in spring to breed along the river systems west of the Great Dividing Range. Birds living from north-west Queensland to the Kimberleys may be a different sub-species (sordidus) with upper parts and breast dull and mottled rather than plain grey-brown.

Monogamous pairs breeds from June to December, sometimes later. Both birds build the nest, an open cup of shreds of bark, dry grass stems and rootlets woven tightly and bound with cobweb; lined with finer grasses and and other soft materials. Suspended by the rim in outer foliage between 2 and 11 metres above the ground, sometimes over water. Two or three (occasionally four) eggs are laid; pale pink to grey-pink, well marked with lines, blotches and spots of red-brown, slate or purple-grey; oval to tapered-oval, about 28 by 20 millimetres. The female incubates the eggs, both parents feed the young. Two broods may be raised in a season.
Little Friarbird