Mallacoota in far East Gippsland is Victoria’s most diverse region for plants, especially flowering plants. Where there are flowers, there are honeyeater birds: a group of noisy, colourful Australian birds adapted to feeding on flower nectar.
In the Mallacoota region it is possible to see 21 species of honeyeater.
Most of the common Victorian species are here: Red & Little Wattlebird, Eastern Spinebill, New Holland & Yellow-faced Honeyeater; but there are also special ones: Tawny-crowned, Crescent, Lewin’s Honeyeater; some are summer visitors: Scarlet Honeyeater; and some are real rarities from NSW and Qld: Noisy and Little Friarbird, White-cheeked Honeyeater.
The Mallacoota region has hills and mountains, coast and heathlands, estuaries and rivers, rainforests and dry woodland, each home to a different group of honeyeater birds.
Here’s a list and description of all the honeyeaters recorded in recent years around Mallacoota.
Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris
Description: small, colourful honeyeater with long curved beak.
Where to see: Can be seen almost anywhere in Mallacoota region where native trees or shrubs or garden plants are flowering.
Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata
Description: Large, streaky grey honeyeater with yellow patch on belly. Very noisy.
Where to see: can be seen almost everywhere in Mallacoota including gardens, all year round
Little Wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera
Description: Similar to Red Wattlebird but lacks yellow patch. Very noisy.
Where to see: Mostly near the coast, all around the region.
White-fronted Chat Epthianura albifrons
Description: a small black and white bird that is most often seen on or near the ground in open areas. Chats are considered honeyeaters, but they are quite different to the rest of the group, both in shape and habits.
Where to see: Not common, best chance is near the coast in open areas – Bastion Point, Mallacoota airport.
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater Gliciphila melanops
Description: an elegant brown, tan and white honeyeater with curved long beak. They are not easy to see, they often stay low and quiet in thick heath.
The Mallacoota region is one of the best places to see this bird in all of Australia.
Where to see: Mostly along the coast in heathlands south of Mallacoota – Shipwreck Ck, Mallacoota airport.
Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops
Description: A small green-olive honeyeater with yellow patch on face.
Where to see: Almost everywhere around Mallacoota region in forests and gardens. Possibly the most common small honeyeater in region.
Fuscous Honeyeater Lichenostomus fuscus
Description: a small, yellow-olive honeyeater a bit like the Yellow-faced but lacking the large yellow patch.
Where to see: Not often seen in region, they seem to prefer drier forests. One reported on north side of Inlet in 2013, another found north of Wangarabell in 2012, another in Mallacoota in 2010 (source: Birdata)
White-eared Honeyeater Lichenostomus leucotis
Description: Medium-sized dark green and black honeyeater with white patch on face
Where to see: in forests – Wallagaraugh, Mallacoota (Shady Gully, Casuarina Walk), Genoa Falls.
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater Lichenostomus melanops
Description: a beautiful yellow and black, medium-sized honeyeater with dramatic facial markings.
Where to see: in forests, mostly in the hills – Wangarabell, Genoa Falls, Maramingo.
White-plumed Honeyeater Lichenostomus penicillatus
Description: a small green-yellow honeyeater with a white plume on cheek.
Where to see: Not often seen this far east, more a bird of western Victoria, but some recent records at Genoa Peak and Shipwreck Ck.
Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala
Description: a medium-sized miner, grey with yellow and black markings around the face. Miners are a group within the honeyeaters – they are chunky-bodied, have bare skin behind their eyes and quite short beaks. They are not related to the introduced Common (Indian) Myna, though they look a bit similar.
Where to see: Occasionally recorded in Mallacoota town area.
Bell Miner (Bellbird) Manorina melanophrys
Description: a small miner, green-olive with red patch behind eye and bright gold beak. Their bell-like call is well-known and much loved.
Where to see: Common, heard in almost every rainforest or wet forest. They can be hard to see at first, simply because they are hidden in thick foliage, but with patience you can usually see one.
Lewin’s Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii
Description: a beautiful, medium-sized green-olive honeyeater with yellow crescent on the cheek. Their call is very distinctive – a bit like a machine gun.
Where to see: Common, often in slightly wetter forests but also along the coast.
Brown-headed Honeyeater Melithreptus brevirostris
Description: a small brown, olive and white honeyeater.
Where to see: Scattered records throughout region, often in dry forests, high in canopy.
White-naped Honeyeater Melithreptus lunatus
Description: small, green and white honeyeater with a black head and a red eyebrow.
Where to see: Common in most forest types – usually seen high in canopy.
Scarlet Honeyeater Myzomela sanguinolenta
Description: a small red, black and white honeyeater with a curved beak.
This bird is one of the reasons birdwatchers come to Mallacoota – these tiny birds fly down from the north in Spring and East Gippsland is their first stop in Victoria. Sometimes they spread throughout the state (as they are doing this year – 2017), but Mallacoota is always a reliable site to see Scarlet Honeyeaters in Spring and Summer.
Where to see: They are usually seen along the coastal forests – Shipwreck Ck, Betka Beach, Heathland Walk – but also up Genoa and Wallagaraugh Rivers at Gipsy Point, Wallagaraugh.
Little Friarbird Philemon citreogularis
Description: a medium-sized light grey friarbird with blue skin around face. Friarbirds are a group among the honeyeaters that are large, noisy and usually have bare, unfeathered heads – the Little Friarbird doesn’t have a totally bare head, but does have a lot of bare skin.
Where to see: one seen in 2014 at Gipsy Point (source: eBird)
Noisy Friarbird Philemon corniculatus
Description: a large light grey friarbird with a bare black head like a tiny vulture.
Where to see: Not common, but several recent sightings from Karbeethong, Gipsy Point, Mallacoota, Wallagaraugh
White-cheeked Honeyeater Phylidonyris nigra
Description: a medium-sized black, white and yellow honeyeater, very similar to the common New Holland Honeyeater, but does not have the white eye.
Where to see: This bird is mostly found in NSW and Qld, but there are two records from Cape Howe Wilderness north of inlet in 2014
New Holland Honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae
Description: a medium-sized black, white and yellow honeyeater with a streaky breast and white eye.
Where to see: Common in gardens and forests all around Mallacoota region.
Crescent Honeyeater Phylidonyris pyrrhoptera
Description: a medium-sized black, white and yellow honeyeater with two black bars forming a broken crescent on chest
Where to see: Can be seen all over Mallacoota region in forests, but do not seem to be as common this year (2017). They do have a tendency to come down to coast in winter and go up to the mountains in summer. Recent records from Genoa Peak and Shipwreck Creek.
Come and see some of Mallacoota’s gorgeous honeyeaters on our 15 or 21 day Maximum Wildlife trips.
Read more about the wildlife of East Gippsland here: Mammals of East Gippsland