White-naped Honeyeater

Melithreptus lunatus

White-naped Honeyeaters are migratory, breeding in the mountains in summer. In autumn they join the Yellow-faced Honeyeater to migrate in spectacular numbers, passing through Canberra in late April to mid-May, and heading further east and north. The White-naped Honeyeater migration usually peaks later than that of the Yellow-faced Honeyeater.

In some years, significant numbers stay in Canberra during winter, forming mixed flocks with Yellow-faced and Fuscous Honeyeaters, foraging in suburban gardens and reserves. Numbers increase in August and September as birds return from coastal areas. Occasionally numbers observed during the spring migration are similar to those of autumn, a phenomenon that does not occur with the Yellow-faced Honeyeater. Numbers have varied greatly from year to year, with some link to low rainfall years. Numbers may also reflect breeding success or variations in migratory paths through the suburbs.

Because White-naped Honeyeaters are virtually absent from the suburbs from November to March, breeding records are scarce. Dependent young were recorded in late April 1987. R=31. BR=99.