Scientific name: Anthochaera phrygia
Conservation status in NSW: Critically Endangered
Commonwealth status: Critically Endangered
The Regent Honeyeater is a species on the edge of extinction, with numbers as low as 250 in the wild, propped up by regular captive breeding and released birds to boost numbers through a dedicated Recovery Team.
It is also 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.
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 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:
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
Report a Regent Honeyeater sighting
If you have sighted a Regent Honeyeater in your back yard or in local bushland, please report it or seek verification from firstname.lastname@example.org or or use the official reporting form: birdlife.org.au/what-to-do-if-you-see-a-regent
All sightings are important!
If you see this bird, if you have a camera on hand please take a photo or video (even on your phone!). If the bird has any colour bands, please note them down (if possible). Please also record the location.
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.
Not sure whether it's a Regent Honeyeater or not? Check this honeyeater ID comparison and reporting fact sheet.