Grey-fronted Honeyeaters Feeding Young

At about 8am on 31st July 1993, I observed two adult Grey-fronted Honeyeaters feeding two juveniles outside my office at the Argyle Diamond mine.  The adults hopped around picking up food lying on the path and then fed whichever juvenile opened its mouth.  The adults worked non stop for about five minutes feeding the young until all four moved out of sight around the corner of the building.

The young had very short tails, yellow lores and gapes, paler bills and almost no yellow/black plumes on their necks.  Apart from their short tails, they appeared to be about the same size as the adults.

The adults seemed to be mostly collecting very small yellowish organic material fallen from acacias growing over the path.  I went outside later and looked at the material on the path, and I decided that it was probably blossom from the acacias that the adults were collecting.  The young occasionally tried to pick up the food for themselves when the parents were absent for short periods.

At one stage, one juvenile was separated by about 4 metres from the other three when one of the adults went to feed the other juvenile.  The juvenile made about three or four quick but unsuccessful attempts to pick up an ant before it flew to join the others.

The young were standing on the path near their parents, or were perched low (within a metre of the ground) in nearby bushes for the remainder of the time.

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002 Visits Last Modified 31st January 2002