Backyard Buddies
New Holland Honeyeater

Photo: Neerav Bhatt

New Holland Honeyeater

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These striking little birds are hard to miss but they are easy to confuse with another bird. The White-cheeked Honeyeater is about the same size and has similar colouring to the New Holland Honeyeater.

The way to tell them apart is in their eyes.

White eyes = New Holland Honeyeater and black eyes = White-cheeked Honeyeater.

The long, curved beak these honeyeaters have are perfect for reaching deep into a flower to get to the sweet nectar inside.

These birds get their name from the first name given to Australia (New Holland). It was called New Holland because the Dutch were the first Europeans to visit here.

This honeyeater may be small and full of sugar, but it is still capable of coming up with some ingenious ideas.

This buddy has worked out that while they are small and easily chased away by large birds, if they get together in a big group, they can chase away other animals. This ‘mobbing’ technique requires a bit of organisation and cooperation.

New Holland Honeyeaters have two breeding peaks, in summer and winter, when they build two different nest types. Their winter nest is built at the top of a bush facing the northern sun to keep it warm. In summer they build their nest deep in the bush away from the heat and the sun.

Looking after New Holland Honeyeaters

Small birds like the New Holland Honeyeater are often overlooked in garden planning. While they do love many of the same plants as larger birds like Noisy Miners and Wattlebirds, they also need protective, dense vegetation areas.

So if you want to make your garden attractive to honeyeaters, plant several dense bushes with lots of foliage and create an understory in a section of your garden so that honeyeaters can feel safe and protected.

Simple things that you do can make a huge difference to Australia’s animals. That’s why the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is running Backyard Buddies— to give you tips to help.

What is a backyard buddy?

Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built-up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The New Holland Honeyeater is a backyard buddy.

Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them, like New Holland Honeyeaters, and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes.

So you can be a backyard buddy.

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care... and take a few simple steps.

Step one is to find out what New Holland Honeyeaters do and do not like.

New Holland Honeyeaters love:

Nectar – from flowering native trees and shrubs.

Bird baths – that have fresh water to bathe, play and drink in and are away from the reach of cats.

Insects – which they feed on to supplement their nectar diet.

Their family and friends – who they spend all day with and, despite the odd argument, generally get along with.

But they don't like:

Cats, dogs and foxes – who may attack them

Wattlebirds – who they often battle with over their favourite nectar bushes. Wattlebirds are bigger but the New Holland Honeyeater has greater numbers.

Being out in the open – as they much prefer to flit from shrub to shrub, and have plenty of spiky bushes to hide in.

Be a Honeyeater Buddy

Try to:


Don't be surprised if:

Find out more about your buddies

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