Scientific name: Anthochaera phrygia
Conservation status in NSW: Critically Endangered
Commonwealth status: Critically Endangered
The Regent Honeyeater is a flagship threatened woodland bird whose conservation will benefit a large suite of other threatened and declining woodland fauna. The species inhabits dry open forest and woodland, particularly Box-Ironbark woodland, and riparian forests of River Sheoak. Regent Honeyeaters inhabit woodlands that support a significantly high abundance and species richness of bird species. These woodlands have significantly large numbers of mature trees, high canopy cover and abundance of mistletoes.
In the OurBushland area, the Cessnock Biodiversity area provides critical complex habitat for this species. The area is listed in the Recovery Plan for this species for it's key breeding habitat, and nectar (gum blossom and mistletoe) in the Lower Hunter bushlands.
Description: The Regent Honeyeater is a striking and distinctive, medium-sized, black and yellow honeyeater with a sturdy, curved bill.
Adults weigh 35 - 50 grams, are 20 - 24 cm long and have a wings-pan of 30 cm. Its head, neck, throat, upper breast and bill are black and the back and lower breast are pale lemon in colour with a black scalloped pattern. Its flight and tail feathers are edged with bright yellow. There is a characteristic patch of dark pink or cream-coloured facial-skin around the eye. Sexes are similar, though males are larger, darker and have larger patch of bare facial-skin.
The call is a soft metallic bell-like song; birds are most vocal in non-breeding season. It has recently been placed in the genus Anthochaera along with the wattlebirds, and was formerly known by the name Xanthomyza phrygia.
Key Habitats: Key areas include the Bundarra-Barraba, Pilliga Woodlands, Mudgee-Wollar and the Capertee Valley and Hunter Valley areas in New South Wales, and the Chiltern and Lurg-Benalla regions of north-east Victoria.Habitat critical to the survival of the Regent Honeyeater occurs in a wide range of land ownership arrangements, including on private land, travelling stock routes and reserves, state forests and state reserves, and National Parks. It is essential that the highest level of protection is provided to these areas and that enhancement and protection measures target these productive sites
Key tree and mistletoe species for the Regent Honeyeater include:
Mugga (or Red) Ironbark, Eucalyptus sideroxylon#
Yellow Box, E. melliodora#
White Box, E. albens#
Yellow Gum, E. leucoxylon
Spotted Gum, Corymbia maculata*
Swamp Mahogany, E. robusta*
Needle-leaf Mistletoe, Amyema cambageion**
River Sheoak, Casuarina cunninghamiana#
Box Mistletoe, A. miquelii#
Long-flower Mistletoe, Dendropthoe vitellina*
* present in the Lower Hunter
# present in the Central and Upper Hunter
BirdLife Australia: Regent Honeyeater Captive Release 2022
The 2022 NSW Regent Honeyeater Captive Release is delivered by the Department of Planning & Environment, BirdLife Australia and Taronga Conservation Society Australia and forms part of the national Regent Honeyeater Recovery Plan implementation. Funding is being provided by the
New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust and Saving our Species Program, Hunter and Central Tablelands Local Land Services through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, the Commonwealth Environment Restoration Fund, as part of the Threatened Species Action Plan – Priority Species funding, Friends of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, and several generous donors and philanthropists. The release is being undertaken on land owned and managed by the Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council, and BirdLife Australia recognises and is grateful for the immense contribution of Indigenous people to the knowledge and conservation of Australia’s birds, including the Regent Honeyeater.
National Recovery Plan:
Information source: Department of Planning and Environment,
Top to bottom:
Banded Regent Honeyeater adult (Mick Roderick)
Long-flower Mistletoe (Eva Twarkowski)
Adult feeding chick (Lachlan Hall)
Adult feeding fledgling (Mick Roderick)
Released bird feeding on a glut of blossoming Grey Ironbark (Mick Roderick)
All photos taken in the Hunter Valley.