Scientific Name: Lichenostomus melanops
Size: Total Length 17-23cm
What does it look like?
The Yellow-tufted Honeyeater is identified by its yellow and black plumage, with yellow crown and throat and distinct yellow ear-tufts. The Helmeted Honeyeater (L. m. cassidix) is a subspecies of this species (although was formerly considered a distinct species) and is the Victorian state bird emblem. It differs from other subspecies of the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater by its longer, and more pointed ear-tufts.
Where is it found?
The yellow-tufted honeyeater occurs in eastern Australia, from south-east Queensland through eastern New South Wales and across Victoria.
What are its habitats & habits?
The species occurs in dry open forests and woodlands, dominated by eucalypts and with shrubby understorey, mallee, brigalow and cypress-pine.
Within it’s restricted distribution, the Helmeted Honeyeater is largely restricted to dense vegetation along riverbanks, dominated by Mountain Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus camphora), Woolly Tea-tree (Leptospermum lanigerum) and Scented Paperbark (Melaleuca squarrosa).
While the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater has a wide distribution, and is quite common a familiar within it, the Helmeted Honeyeater (a subspecies of the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater and the Victorian bird emblem) occurs in just a few restricted areas of Victoria, and is classed as Critically Endangered, with a recovery program in place, including captive breeding and supplementing the wild populations through relocation and reintroduction of these captive-bred birds, in an effort to safeguard the survival of the subspecies.
This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots