Gilbert's Honeyeater

Information about the Bird Gilbert's Honeyeater

Gilbert's honeyeater (Melithreptus chloropsis), also known as the Swan River honeyeater or western white-naped honeyeater, is a passerine bird of the honeyeater family Meliphagidae native to south-western Australia.

Gilbert's honeyeater was originally described by John Gould in 1844, who gave it the species name chloropsis from the Ancient Greek terms chloros "green-yellow" and opsis "eye".Gregory Mathews coined the name Melithreptus whitlocki in 1909.
Treated as a subspecies of the white-naped honeyeater for many years, it was found in a 2010 study to have diverged early on from the lunatus complex. It forms a superspecies with the white-naped and black-headed honeyeaters. It is a member of the genus Melithreptus with several species, of similar size and (apart from the brown-headed honeyeater) black-headed appearance, in the honeyeater family Meliphagidae. The next closest relative outside the genus is the much larger but similarly marked blue-faced honeyeater. More recently, DNA analysis has shown honeyeaters to be related to the Pardalotidae (pardalotes), Acanthizidae (Australian warblers, scrubwrens, thornbills, etc.), and the Maluridae (Australian fairy-wrens) in a large Meliphagoidea superfamily.
Gould called it the Swan River honeyeater, and noted the species was known by various local indigenous names, including Jingee (lowland), Bun-geen (mountains), and Berril-berril (Swan River). Proposed modern spellings are djinki, bongin and berilberil respectively. Djiok is a name recorded from the vicinity of Albany.
A mid-sized honeyeater, it is olive green above and white below, with a black head, nape and throat and a white patch over the eye and a white crescent-shaped patch on the nape, thinner than other species. The bill is brownish-black and the eyes a dull red.
The honeyeater is found in the south-west corner of Western Australia where it ranges from Moora in the north, through the Jarrah forest belt to Broomehill, the Stirling Range and along the coast to Stokes Inlet. It inhabits dry sclerophyll forests that are dominated by jarrah, marri or karri inland, tuart on the coastal plain, or wandoo woodland.
The species has become less common on the Swan coastal plain, and vanished from Kellerberrin.
It is generally sedentary or locally nomadic.
It forages in the foliage and canopy of eucalypts for insects and nectar.
The cup-shaped nests are located in the branches of trees, often hidden in foliage. The nests are usually made of bark fibres, rootlets and dry grasses at a height of up to 10 m above the ground. The clutch is of two, occasionally three, pale buff eggs marked with reddish-brown and grey spots and blotches, 18 x 144mm in size. Eggs may be found from November to January; the incubation period is 14 days, with the young remaining in the nest about another 14.
The honeyeater has a harsh, grating call as well as a continuously uttered, single-noted 'tsip'.

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