Mistletoebird

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Description

Mistletoebird, Dicaeum hirundinaceum, is a very small bird at 10-11cm. The male Mistletoebird has a glossy blue-black head, back and tail. Bright red throat, chest and under-tail. White belly with a central dark streak. Female is grey/brown above, cream throat and belly, pale red under-tail.

Feeding Habits

Highly adapted to a diet of mistletoe berries which pass quickly through the digestive system and the seeds are excreted onto branches. The seeds will hopefully germinate into a new food plant. They also catch insects, mainly to provide food for the young.

Breeding

The female builds a silky, pear-shaped nest with a slit-like entrance made from matted plant down and cobweb, suspended from a twig in the outer foliage of a tree. The female incubates the eggs, and then both sexes feed the young.

Places to Look

Found in a wide variety of habitats wherever the mistletoe plant is found. Mistletoebirds are very small and they feed high in the trees so they are very hard to find.

References

NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

Mistletoebird © Birdlife Townsville 2008

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