Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia

Niche Overlap Between Three Sympatric, Short-billed Honeyeaters in Tasmania

PJ Slater

Emu 94(3) 186 - 192
Published: 1994


Niche overlap in relation to foraging ecology and morphological adaptations was investigated between two Melithreptus species (Strong-billed and Black-headed Honeyeaters) and the Lichenostomus species (Yellowthroated Honeyeater) in Tasmania. The Melithreptus species showed little overlap in site and method of foraging and were morphologically suited to these foraging differences. Yellow-throated Honeyeaters were more generalised in use of foraging sites. Yellow-throated and Strong-billed Honeyeaters showed a greater amount of zone overlap but used different foraging methods. Niche breadth and foraging overlap of all species increased in the breeding season. They also had different social organisations: Yellow-throateds were territorial and excluded other honeyeaters, while both Melithreptus species were common in nomadic flocks.


© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 1994

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