Nature conservation

Threatened species

Black-chinned Honeyeater (eastern subspecies) - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Melithreptus gularis gularis
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 26 Oct 2001
Profile last updated: 01 Nov 2022


The Black-chinned Honeyeater is the largest of its genus, reaching 17 cm in length. The cap is black, with a white crescent around the nape, and there is a diagnostic black 'chin' beneath the bill and extending down the white throat (though this can be difficult to see in the field). There is a small crescent of blue skin above the eye. The back and wings are a dull olive-green and the tail is greyish-brown. The underparts are white, with a greyish-buff tint on the breast. The bill is short, black and slightly downcurved. The call is a ringing, bubbling trill, repeated several times. A combination of larger size, black chin, bright blue eye crescent and call distinguishes this from similar species, such as the White-naped (Melithreptus lunatus) and White-throated (M. lunatus) Honeyeaters.


The Black-chinned Honeyeater has two subspecies, with only the nominate (gularis) occurring in NSW. The other subspecies (laetior) was formerly considered a separate species (Golden-backed Honeyeater) and is found in northern Australia between central Queensland west to the Pilbara in Western Australia. The eastern subspecies extends south from central Queensland, through NSW, Victoria into south eastern South Australia, though it is very rare in the last state. In NSW it is widespread, with records from the tablelands and western slopes of the Great Dividing Range to the north-west and central-west plains and the Riverina. It is rarely recorded east of the Great Dividing Range, although regularly observed from the Richmond and Clarence River areas. It has also been recorded at a few scattered sites in the Hunter, Central Coast and Illawarra regions, though it is very rare in the latter.

Habitat and ecology

  • Occupies mostly upper levels of drier open forests or woodlands dominated by box and ironbark eucalypts, especially Mugga Ironbark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon), White Box (E. albens), Inland Grey Box (E. microcarpa), Yellow Box (E. melliodora), Blakely's Red Gum (E. blakelyi) and Forest Red Gum (E. tereticornis).
  • Also inhabits open forests of smooth-barked gums, stringybarks, ironbarks, river sheoaks (nesting habitat) and tea-trees.
  • A gregarious species usually seen in pairs and small groups of up to 12 birds.
  • Feeding territories are large making the species locally nomadic. Recent studies have found that the Black-chinned Honeyeater tends to occur in the largest woodland patches in the landscape as birds forage over large home ranges of at least 5 hectares.
  • Moves quickly from tree to tree, foraging rapidly along outer twigs, underside of branches and trunks, probing for insects. Nectar is taken from flowers, and honeydew is gleaned from foliage.
  • Breeds solitarily or co-operatively, with up to five or six adults, from June to December.
  • The nest is placed high in the crown of a tree, in the uppermost lateral branches, hidden by foliage. It is a compact, suspended, cup-shaped nest.
  • Two or three eggs are laid and both parents and occasionally helpers feed the young.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Plains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Range Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthMoonie-Barwon Interfluve Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthNarrandool Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Basalts Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Outwash Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Outwash Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthTalbragar Valley Known None
Cobar PeneplainBoorindal Plains Predicted None
Cobar PeneplainCanbelego Downs Known None
Cobar PeneplainLachlan Plains Known None
Cobar PeneplainNymagee Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsBogan-Macquarie Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsCastlereagh-Barwon Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsCulgoa-Bokhara Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsLouth Plains Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsPooncarie-Darling Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsWarrambool-Moonie Predicted None
Mulga LandsCuttaburra-Paroo Predicted None
Mulga LandsKerribree Basin Predicted None
Mulga LandsNebine Plains Predicted None
Mulga LandsParoo Overflow Predicted None
Mulga LandsUrisino Sandplains Predicted None
Mulga LandsWarrego Plains Predicted None
Mulga LandsWarrego Sands Predicted None
Mulga LandsWest Warrego Predicted None
Mulga LandsWhite Cliffs Plateau Predicted None
Murray Darling DepressionDarling Depression Predicted None
Murray Darling DepressionSouth Olary Plain Known None
NandewarInverell Basalts Predicted None
NandewarKaputar Known None
NandewarNandewar Northern Complex Known None
NandewarPeel Known None
New England TablelandsArmidale Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsBeardy River Hills Predicted None
New England TablelandsBinghi Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsBundarra Downs Known None
New England TablelandsDeepwater Downs Predicted None
New England TablelandsEastern Nandewars Known None
New England TablelandsEbor Basalts Known None
New England TablelandsGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts Known None
New England TablelandsMoredun Volcanics Known None
New England TablelandsNightcap Predicted None
New England TablelandsNortheast Forest Lands Predicted None
New England TablelandsSevern River Volcanics Known None
New England TablelandsStanthorpe Plateau Predicted None
New England TablelandsTenterfield Plateau Predicted None
New England TablelandsTingha Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWongwibinda Plateau Predicted None
New England TablelandsYarrowyck-Kentucky Downs Known None
NSW North CoastCataract Predicted None
NSW North CoastChaelundi Known None
NSW North CoastDalmorton Known None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastRocky River Gorge Predicted None
NSW North CoastUpper Hunter Known None
NSW South Western SlopesCapertee Valley Known None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Known None
NSW South Western SlopesLower Slopes Known None
OceanHawkesbury Shelf Known None
Ocean - Other StateSouthern Australian Coastal Waters Known None
Other StateQLD Known None
Other StateSA Known None
Other StateVIC Known None
RiverinaMurray Fans Known None
RiverinaMurray Scroll Belt Predicted None
RiverinaMurrumbidgee Known None
RiverinaRobinvale Plains Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBungonia Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCapertee Uplands Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCrookwell Known None
South Eastern HighlandsHill End Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMurrumbateman Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOberon Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsOrange Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None
Sydney BasinBurragorang Known None
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinKerrabee Known None
Sydney BasinPittwater Known None
Sydney BasinSydney Cataract Known None
Sydney BasinWollemi Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Known None