Yellow-faced Honeyeater

Lichenostomus chrysops

The Yellow-faced Honeyeater is predominantly a migratory species in the region. After breeding in the mountains to the west of Canberra through the summer, many thousands of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and White-naped Honeyeaters move down from the ranges in autumn on their way towards the coast. Spectacularly large flocks can be seen streaming along the Murrumbidgee River Corridor, turning east at many points along the river corridor, for instance just north of Angle Crossing. Most migration takes place in the morning. Although they are fairly conspicuous as they move from treetop to treetop through the suburbs, they rarely fly far from tree cover and avoid new suburban areas until trees have grown to a suitable density and size. A small number over-winter in Canberra gardens.

Their migratory behaviour leads to a very pronounced peak in numbers in April, with a much smaller secondary peak in September as the smaller and less conspicuous flocks return to the region. Very few birds are recorded in Canberra during summer. The birds visiting Canberra’s gardens appear to have suffered a decline up to 1993-94 with an increase since then. Surprisingly, there appears to be no effect after the devastating bush fires of January 2003.

Breeding records in the survey are scarce, but nesting activity has been reported in mid-October and mid-January, with dependent young in January and late February. R=17. BR=53.