When feeding in the outer foliage of the tallest eucalypts, the White-naped Honeyeater may sometimes be detected only by its characteristic “shersh-shersh-shersh” call. They mostly peck tiny invertebrates from the foliage and the bark, though they also occasionally probe flowers with their bills to extract nectar. A migratory species, the White-naped Honeyeater sometimes forms flocks of hundreds or even thousands of birds when on the move, and often migrates with flocks of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, flying just above the treetops as they move through an area.
The White-naped Honeyeater is a small honeyeater with a short, slender bill. It is olive-green above, with a black cap, a white band across the back of the neck that does not reach the eye, and a bright orange crescent above the eye. The flanks and sides of the breast are washed grey-brown and the underparts are white. Young birds lack the black cap and the white nape is duller or absent. It can be seen in large flocks when migrating, often with other honeyeaters, and in smaller groups when feeding.
Harsh, churring ‘shersh-shersh-shersh’ and single note whistle, along with alarm and contact calls. Bird call recorded by: Fred Van Gessel
The White-naped Honeyeater is endemic to eastern and south-eastern mainland Australia, from northern Queensland to eastern South Australia. The subspecies that was found in WA is now regarded as a full species, currently called Gilbert’s Honeyeater.
Woodland, Forest, Urban
The White-naped Honeyeater is found in open forests and woodlands, mainly in the temperate zone, and rarely in drier areas. Found in urban gardens, commonly visiting nectar feeders in areas near forests.
A migratory species, the White-naped Honeyeater sometimes forms flocks of hundreds or even thousands of birds when on the move, and often migrates with flocks of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, flying just above the treetops as they move through an area.
The White-naped Honeyeater feeds on nectar and insects and their products (e.g. honeydew and lerp), and manna. They tend to forage in the tallest trees, and occasionally under bark and are rarely seen on the ground.
During the breeding season, White-naped Honeyeaters breed communally, with both the parents and helpers looking after the young, although only the female incubates the eggs. The female builds a small open cup nest out of grass, bark, and spider web, high up in a tree or sapling. At least two broods are raised in a season. The nests can be parasitised by the Fan-tailed and Pallid Cuckoos.
Woodland, Forest, Urban