Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Painted Honeyeater
Grantiella picta
(Viewing 4 of 10 photos)

Click to listen to sound samples Painted Honeyeaters are migrants and in most years spend the spring and summer somewhere in SE Australia. However their arrival and subsequent breeding in an area depends largely on the flowering and fruiting of the local mistletoes. They rely on mistletoe more than any other honeyeater and in particular, they feed on mistletoe fruits as well as flowers. In places with heavy mistletoe infestations they may even form loose nesting colonies. When this happens, the males sing vigorously to defend their territories and indulge in many aerial displays and pursuits. At these times their signature call of "georgi - georgi" clearly advertises their presence. They actually have a very wide repertoire of calls and I have endeavoured to post a representative selection on the sound page (click on "Listen").

In winter when they return to northern Australia, little is known about where they go or what they do but they certainly still seek out flowering mistletoe (see 598201 taken N of Cloncurry).

Mistletoe seeds are extremely sticky and present a bit of a problem to birds trying to void them. The Mistletoebird has solved the problem by wiping its bottom directly on to a branch (see Mistletoebird) where the seeds adhere and eventually germinate. Painted Honeyeaters actually use their bills to wipe the sticky seeds away (598205D, 598213D).

Photo: 598201

598201 ... Painted Honeyeater in mistletoe on Cabbage Tree Creek, Kajabbi, Qld., 21 July 1998

Photo: 598202

598202 ... Painted Honeyeaters feed mainly in mistletoes.

Photo: 598203-D

598203-D ... Painted Honeyeater, adult male, Jandowae Qld., Oct 2007.

Photo: 598204-D

598204-D ... Painted Honeyeater

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