Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Breeding and Moult in Honeyeaters (Aves : Meliphagidae) near Adelaide, South Australia

HA Ford

Australian Wildlife Research 7(3) 453 - 463
Published: 1980


'New Holland honeyeaters Phylidonyris novaehollandiae moult their primary feathers between mid- October and late April. Most adults probably have completed their moult by February, some immatures moult later. Individual birds may take over 100 days to complete moulting their primaries. The secondary and tail feathers are moulted towards the end of the primary moult and slightly after it. Limited data for 15 other species suggest that they moult at a similar time and for a similar duration. Breeding, in the Adelaide area, occurred in all months of the year in at least some species of honeyeaters, with a major peak from July to November, and a minor peak in April and May. Insectivorous species breed somewhat later than nectarivorous species and breed less often in autumn. Breeding of the former group may be influenced chiefly by increasing temperature in spring, whereas autumn rainfall probably influences the timing of peak nectar production. Although there is some overlap between the extensive breeding seasons and moulting periods of honeyeaters I have no evidence that individual honeyeaters breed while they are moulting.


© CSIRO 1980

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