Home Nature Birds Painted Honeyeater (Grantiella picta)

Painted Honeyeater (Grantiella picta)

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The painted honeyeater (Grantiella picta) plumaged is contrasting black, white, and yellow. It feeds almost exclusively on the drupes of mistletoe. It has been recorded feeding on no more than five species of Mistletoe Amyema, and to keep itself fed, it follows their fruiting nomadically north and south over inland eastern Australia.
At the beginning of breeding, males may arrive several weeks before females and establish territory with tree-top singing and near-vertical song flights. The beautifully painted honeyeater is a species of honeyeater in a monotypic genus.
Competitors are driven off in silence, weaving flights low among trees. Both sexes construct the nest, taking up to three weeks, and both share incubation, changing over within hourly intervals. Both also feed the young, on insects as well as mistletoe drupes, and rear two foods in a good season. The size of the painted honeyeater is 155–160 mm.
The male bird’s head, upperparts, wings, and tail are black; flight and tail feathers are broadly edged yellow; the tail is tipped white; and there is a white ear tuft. Underparts are white, streaked black on the flanks. The eyes are brown with a pink bill and a dusky tip. The feet are slate. The female bird’s upperparts are grayer, and the flanks are plainer.
The painted honeyeater call is an undulating whistle—churr. The song of the painted honeyeater is stridently whistled, tort-tee, tort-tee, or et-tee, et-tee. The breeding and nesting seasons are October–March. Nest a frail cup, 50 x 45 mm inside, of fibrous rootlets, casuarina needles, or grass bound with cobweb; attached to leafy twigs at the end of a drooping branch 3–20 meters above ground. There are two eggs, salmon-pink, with small spots of red-brown and lilac, particularly at the larger end; they are oval, 20 x 15 mm. There are rarely 1 or 3 eggs.
The incubation period is about 13–14 days for both sexes. Young fledge in 12–14 days. The painted honeyeater is found in open forest and woodland in much of inland eastern Australia. It is uncommon and nomadic, but very elusive. The bird is rarely seen in flocks, usually individually or in pairs. Like other honeyeaters, it has a mixed diet, consuming mistletoe plants and fruits, i.e., berries; however, when fruits are not available, they prefer to eat nectar, and insects from a range of sources and their locations.
The painted honeyeater (Grantiella picta) plumaged is contrasting black, white, and yellow.
The painted honeyeater (Grantiella picta) plumaged is contrasting black, white, and yellow. Photo credit: David Cook
The song of painted honeyeater is stridently whistled tort-tee, tort-tee or et-tee, et-tee.
The song of the painted honeyeater is stridently whistled, tort-tee, tort-tee, or et-tee, et-tee. Photo credit: Wikipedia

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