Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia

Small birds, Lerp-feeding and the problem of Honeyeaters

JCZ Woinarski

Emu 84(3) 137 - 141
Published: 1984


Honeyeaters often defend rich sources of carbohydrates such as nectar and lerps (exudates of psyllids). Lerps are also a major food item of pardalotes, and consequently these birds are attacked frequently by honeyeaters, especially in winter and spring. Up to 5% of daylight time and 9% of energy expended may be wasted by pardalotes escaping from honeyeaters. This susceptibility to attack may have been influential in the development of hole-nesting by pardalotes and may have deterred other small foliage-gleaning birds from eating lerps.


© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 1984

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