Australian Bush Birds
Striped Honeyeater  -  Plectorhyncha lanceolata
Striped Honyeater
Striped Honeyeater with prominent black and white stripes on head. The tapering, pointed bill is used to take insects and caterpillars as much as nectar
Striped Honyeater
Striped Honeyeater with cluster of white breast feathers.
Striped Honeyeater - page 2
map map The Striped Honeyeater - Plectorhyncha lanceolata - has striped black and white head, face and upper neck; lores and eyebrow are white. Back is grey-brown striped dusky merging into the black striped on white of the back and side of the head. Throat to upper breast is white with spiked feathers forming a gorgette; lower breast to under tail is off-white with fine dusky streaks, flanks are greyer. Eye is brown. Bill is pale to dark blue-grey, dark tipped; the bill tapers steadily to a prominent point. Females have a browner back and faint buff-grey underparts. Juveniles are similar to females but paler and less streaked, may appear 'fluffy' when perched.

Lives in small colonies of two to eight; spends much time foraging in lower levels of the tree canopy, native pines inland and casuarinas on the central coast as well as eucalypts and acacias. Hops briskly about under cover turning over leaves and probing branchlets for insects and caterpillars as well as taking available berries. More an insect and fruit-eater than a nectar-eater but has a honeyeater's brush-tipped tongue allowing it to take nectar from flowers of eucalypts and eremophila.

Lives in drier scrub, woodlands, mulga, mallee, saltbush, mistletoe on river she-oaks, farmland trees, streets and gardens. Found in eastern Queensland and inland eastern temperate Australia as far west as Adelaide. Pairs are understood to maintain permanent territory in productive habitats advertising with bubbling songs at any time of the day. Pairs often duet, perched almost side-by-side on high, sheltered branches.

Striped Honeyeaters are variously reported to be common and uncommon. There are no reliable reports of migration and the species is considered to be residential; presence at a particular site may be erratic or sporadic, possibly depending on rainfall, giving the impression the bird is migratory.

Breeding takes place August to January. The nest is a deep cup, 75 by 95 millimetres inside, made of fine dry grass or thin dry grass stems; covered outside with plant down or wool and often decorated with emu feathers. Lined with grass. Suspended at several places along the rim from thin, leafy twigs at the end of a drooping branch 1 to 10 metres above the ground.

Three or four eggs are laid; dull white, usually marked with brown-red and underlying pale purple-grey; oval, about 23 by 17 millimetres.

Similar Species. Wattlebirds are similar but larger with heavier striping underneath.