Backyard Buddies

Photo: Rosie Nicolai


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They might only grow to about 15 cm tall and weigh only 5-10 g, but the hardy Silvereye has amazing stamina. Silvereyes can live for up to ten years, which is a long time for such a tiny bird. They can also fly extremely long distances when they migrate at the end of summer. Some travel all the way from Tasmania right up to southern Queensland, over 1,600 km.

Silvereyes are very easy to recognise. As their name suggests, they have a ring of white or silvery feathers in a ring around their eyes. Silvereyes look a little different, depending on where they come from in Australia, but generally they have olive green and grey feathers.

Flowering trees are a magnet for Silvereyes, so look out for them in gardens, parks and even orchards when trees and shrubs are flowering.

They especially love to eat the fruit of the Spreading Flax-Lilly, and the berries of the Beard Heath. Silvereyes in Western Australia nest in the foliage of the Black Coral Pea, which is one of Western Australia's famous 'upside-down' flowers.

Be a Backyard Buddy

Silvereyes make their tiny nests about 5 m up in tree forks, so be sure to look carefully before pruning any of your trees between August and February. There might be Silvereye babies or eggs about.

Silvereyes don't just eat nectar and fruit. They also love a feast of insects, so they are great to have in your garden. In fact, Silvereyes will help to keep a lot of the insects that damage plants under control.

You might not see very many Silvereyes when the weather gets cold, especially in south eastern areas of Australia. When it starts to get a little chilly in autumn, Silvereyes form large flocks and fly to warmer areas for the winter. If you live in north eastern New South Wales or southern Queensland, you may be lucky enough to have southern Silvereyes visiting you for the winter.

Silvereyes love:

But they don't like:

Be a Buddy to Silvereyes

Try to:


Don't be surprised if Silvereyes:

A few more Silvereye facts

Silvereye profile:

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Dr Ricky Spencer – Lead Scientist Murray River Turtle Project, NSW

Photo: OEH