Cairns to Cape Tribulation

Information for Mistletoebird - Dicaeum hirundinaceum

Eukaryota >Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Passeriformes > Dicaeidae > Dicaeum > Dicaeum hirundinaceum

Mistletoebird
Dicaeum hirundinaceum

As its name suggests these active birds feed mainly on the berries of mistletoe plants (although it will catch insects to feed its young).

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Mistletoebird - Adult male - Dicaeum hirundinaceum - Photo by Lydia Hinton

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By doing so it helps distribute this parasitic plant through its droppings, and in turn ensuring more mistletoe plants for its food source.

Mistletoe birds are the only Australian representative of the flowerpecker family, (Dicaeidae) and are thought to be one of the closest evolutionary relatives to the sunbirds. It is believed they migrated to Australia about 2 million years ago.

The female will build a smooth, pear shaped nest using plant material and spider webs. The female also incubates the eggs, however the male will assist with feeding once they have hatched.

They are a very active bird, and you will rarely see them sitting still. The male is easy to identify by his bright red chest and undertail, glossy black head, wings and back and white belly.

The females are grey and white, but still have a pale red undertail.