There are several species of honeyeaters in the meliphagid family, including the black honeyeater (Certhionyx niger).
Black honeyeaters measure between 100 and 120 millimeters in length.
Males exhibit sexual dimorphism, with sooty-black upperparts, throat, belly, and wings; females have white upperparts, head, and tail. The eyes are dark brown. The bill and feet are black.
On the female, all upper parts are mid-brown with paler edges on the shoulders; the brow is paler; and the underparts are white with mottled brown spots on the throat and breast. The immature woman looks like a female.
During the nesting season, the black honeyeater calls early in the morning, usually before and during the breeding season. Chattering chirps are the call of black honeyeaters. The young are scolded by both sexes after hatching, a call that may be an indication that food has been provided.
The Black Honeyeater sings thin, whistled seeps or see-sees from high perches or in flight.
Nesting and breeding seasons take place between September and December, probably any time after suitable rains.
In order to reach tubular flowers such as those of the emu bush, the black honeyeater uses its long, curved bill. It eats insects from the air and the ash left behind by campfires. Using twigs, grass, and cobwebs as nest materials, the bird raised it on a horizontal branch close to the ground. Mating season is marked by soaring song flights by the male, but nest-building is largely the responsibility of the female.
The Black Honeyeater lays two to three eggs, which are a buff color with a dusky purple-spotted area near the larger end. The eggs are swollen ovals, about the size of 15 x 12 mm. Incubation by the female
In all arid zones, the Black Honeyeater is found mostly in Acacia, Mallee, and Spinifex scrubs.
Black honeyeaters are tiny desert nomads that follow the blooming of Eremophila shrubs. Their diet consists mainly of nectar from eremophilas, but they also visit other flowers, including eucalypts and grevilleas.
They also feed on small insects, sometimes in short sallies on the wing. Just as their flowering in the arid zone is erratic, so are the movements of black honeyeaters; the bird’s numbers in any area vary greatly from year to year. Feeding occurs continuously, and the bird chases intruders in search of food sources while hovering and hawking.
There is a seasonal influence on the movements, with most regional populations shifting north in autumn and winter and south in spring-summer. For their long flights, the birds have rather pointed wings with a vestigial outer primary.
Black honeyeaters concentrate their feeding on those species of eremophila with flowers no longer than their bills, such as E. longifolia. Birds hop among the blooms vigorously and even hover in front of them. Larger flowers may be pierced at the base. From bush to bush, the flight is fast, zigzagging, dipping, and usually low.
There are often dispersed colonies of black honeyeaters that breed and travel. As they dip and fly above treetops, male breeding birds mark their territory. It is not uncommon for birds to whistle at the top of every dip while folding their wings and extending their tails slightly. Their heads are raised at the top of each dip as they hold their wings stiff and slightly downward.
Nests are built and incubated by the female, but the young are reared by the male. In 1838, John Gould described the black honeyeater as Myzomela nigra for the first time. According to the IOC, the black honeyeater is the official name of the species. Due to its habit of collecting ashes after campfires, it is also known as the charcoal bird.
There may be up to 50 black honeyeaters gathered at stands of flowers, but they are usually seen alone or in pairs. In groups of around six, the birds hovered around and landed beside the remote campfire like bees buzzing around a honeypot, an activity described as similar to “bees buzzing around a honeypot.”. Read More: Tawny-crowned Honeyeater ‘Phylidonyris rnelanops’