Yellow-throated Honeyeater Click to enlarge image
Yellow-throated Honeyeater Image: Ron Knight
creative commons

Fast Facts

  • Classification
  • Size Range
    18 cm to 23 cm

The Yellow-throated Honeyeater can be quite aggressive towards other honeyeaters, as well as other species such as pardalotes, Golden Whistlers and Grey Shrike-thrushes, chasing them away in both breeding and non-breeding seasons.


The Yellow-throated Honeyeater is a medium to large slim-bodied honeyeater with a relatively long tail and a distinctive bright yellow chin and throat. It is a bright olive green above, with a silver-grey head, neck and underbody, and the yellow throat is bordered by a narrow black band. There is a small yellow ear-patch and the underbody is washed yellow, with the wing feathers also outlined with yellow. The bill is black and the eye is red-brown. Females are smaller than males. Young birds are very similar to adults, but duller overall. This Tasmanian species is usually seen singly or in pairs, often foraging on the trunks or foliage of large trees. It has also been called the Green Cherry-picker, Green Dick or Green Linnet.

AMS405/85 Yellow-throated Honeyeater male

Yellow-throated Honeyeater male

Image: Jack Purnell
© Australian Museum


The Yellow-throated Honeyeater is found in a range of habitats, including wet and dry forests, woodlands, sub-alpine forests, temperate rainforest, wet scrubs and coastal heathlands. It is also often found in parks, gardens and reserves in urban areas. It is also found in orchards.


The Yellow-throated Honeyeater is endemic to Tasmania, being widespread, and is found on some offshore islands. It is also found on King Island and on islands of the Furneaux Group.


Sedentary with some local movements. Females move into male territories during breeding season, then disperse along with young when breeding finished.

Feeding and diet

The Yellow-throated Honeyeater feeds mainly on insects and nectar, and occasionally on fruit and seeds. It feeds at all levels of the canopy, foraging on foliage, bark and flowers for insects and nectar. It will visit orchards to feed on insects and fruit, especially pears.


Loud 'tonk' calls, also 'pick-em-up' or 'get-a-whip'; aggressive churring and bill-snapping when chasing other birds.

Breeding behaviours

Male Yellow-throated Honeyeaters hold territories year-round, aggressively defending them against others of their own species as well as other birds and particularly, other honeyeaters. The female builds the small, cup-shaped nest close to the ground in dense shrubs such as tea-tree, Lomandra and wattles or in grass tussocks or new growth from a burnt stump. The nest is made from closely woven grass, bark and spider-web, and is lined with mammal fur or hair. Like a mainland Lichenostomusspecies, the White-eared Honeyeater, this species is known for its habit of collecting hair from live animals such as horses and dogs and even humans. The female incubates the eggs and feeds the young. She will leave the nestlings to be fed by the male if she is starting a second nest and brood, however the males will drive off the fledglings when they are old enough to disperse (usually for about three weeks, but often till the end of the season) and he will eventually drive the female away as well, once all the young have fledged. This species is parasitised by both Pallid Cuckoos and Fan-tailed Cuckoos.

  • Breeding Season: August to December.

Economic impacts

The Yellow-throated Honeyeater prefers older stands of dry sclerophyll forests and may be adversely affected by fire. It was formerly considered to be a pest of orchards, but there are no recent claims that it damages crops. It is well-known for its habit of landing on people's heads to collect hair for its nests.