Bird Emblem: Helmeted Honeyeater

Helmeted HoneyeaterDownload a higher resolution JPEG (1.6 MB)

The Helmeted Honeyeater, Lichenostomus melanops cassidix (Colild, 1867) is the larger and more brilliantly coloured race of the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater. Previously regarded as a separate species, recent studies indicate an area of interbreeding between it and the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater.

Pure populations of this attractive honeyeater are now restricted to a small area on Woori Yallock Creek near Yellingbo on the outskirts of Melbourne. The Yellingbo State Wildlife Reserve was established to protect the few remaining colonies numbering some 100-150 birds. The Helmeted Honeyeater is particularly vulnerable to habitat disturbance as it requires a combination of manna and swamp gums and tea-trees, and shrubby bushes alongside grass-lined watercourses.

The birds are about 20cm in total length and the sexes are similar. The upperparts of the body are olive-grey with the outer wing and tail feathers greenish-yellow. Underparts are yellowish-green with dark streaks. The sides of the head are glossy black with golden ear-tufts and a yellow throat. Both crown and fore-head are golden yellow with the latter displaying plush-like feathers projecting slightly over the base of the bill and forming a distinctive helmet.


Last updated on Friday, 04 July 2014