Australian Bush Birds
Crescent Honeyeater  -  Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus
Crescent Honeyeater
Male Crescent Honeyeater with yellow feather edges and prominent white extended eyebrow. (Strahan, Tas)
Crescent Honeyeater
Male Crescent Honeyeater with short, vertical black bands on each side of the breast. (Strahan, Tas)
map map The Crescent Honeyeater - Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus - is a small honeyeater (males 15 to 16 centimetres, females 13 to 14 centimetres). Males and females are marked slightly differently.

Males have a grey-black head, back, wings and tail verging on blue-black. Flight and tail feathers have broad yellow edges visible when the bird is at rest; the tail is tipped white. Underside is mottled grey and white; flanks and belly pale grey. Face dark grey with a prominent white eyebrow extending well behind the eye. Eye is red-brown, bill black, feet dark grey. Throat is white with vertical dark streaks. Centre of the breast white; on each side of the breast is a short, broad, black vertical band edged with white.

Crescent Honeyeater - page 2
Females are duller than males with less distinct vertical breast bands. Olive-brown where male is dark coloured. Wing patches are dull olive-yellow. Immature birds similar to adults but duller in colour with vertical breast bands obscured.

Found in wet and dry scerophyll forests, alpine woodland, coastal heathland and gardens. Distributed throughout Tasmania, Bass Strait islands and south-east mainland Australia from the Hunter region in New South Wales south along the coastal strip to the Victorian/South Australian border with an outlying population on Kangaroo Island and at Mount Lofty near Adelaide. A casual visitor to the lower Murray River in SA.

Two sub-species:
pyrrhopterus in Tasmania and most of south-east mainland Australia.
halmaturina on Kangaroo Island and Mount Lofty.

An altitudinal migrant which breeds in the high country in summer, disperses to lowlands in autumn-winter and returns to the high country in spring-summer.

Common bird, found singly or in pairs feeding mainly on nectar. Attracted to flowering eucalypts, banksias, telopeas and heaths where loose aggregations of birds feed from under shrubbery to the tops of the trees, feeding mainly in the middle strata. Manna and honey-dew excreted by sap-sucking insects are also important sources of food obtains by among leaves and under bark on the outer branches of rough-barked eucalypts. Insects are taken as well but less often and usually in flight from high perches.

Males, but not females, defend feeding territory with loud calls.

Breeding takes place from July to January, sometimes March to April. The nest is cup-shaped, made of bark strips and twigs lined with grass or other soft material; usually placed in a shrub within two metres of the ground. Two to three eggs (rarely four) are laid; pale pink with bold red and brown spots; swollen oval in shape, about 19 by 15 millimetres. Pairs nest alone, the female builds the nest and incubates the eggs; both parents feed the young.

Previously known as Phylidonyris pyrrhoptera.