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The breeding biology of the dusky honeyeater 'Myzomela obscura' in the northern territory, and the importance of nectar in the diet of nestling honeyeaters

Noske, Richard a. and Carlson, Ashley J. (2011). The breeding biology of the dusky honeyeater 'Myzomela obscura' in the northern territory, and the importance of nectar in the diet of nestling honeyeaters. Australian Field Ornithology,28(3):97-113.

Document type: Journal Article

IRMA ID 82057923xPUB143
Title The breeding biology of the dusky honeyeater 'Myzomela obscura' in the northern territory, and the importance of nectar in the diet of nestling honeyeaters
Author Noske, Richard a.
Carlson, Ashley J.
Journal Name Australian Field Ornithology
Publication Date 2011
Volume Number 28
Issue Number 3
ISSN 1448-0107   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-82055171831
Start Page 97
End Page 113
Total Pages 17
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher BirdLife Australia
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract The breeding biology of the Dusky Honeyeater Myzomela obscura is poorly known, despite the species’ wide distribution and use of a broad range of habitats. In the Northern Territory, breeding was recorded in all months, but just over 50% of estimated laying dates were in April and May, corresponding with the transition from the wet to the dry season. In Darwin, nests were placed 1.0 to 9.0 m above the ground in a variety of trees or tall shrubs, including exotics. The size of clutches or broods never exceeded two (n = 9). At two closely observed nests, the incubation period was 12.4 and 12.75 days, similar to another myzomeline honeyeater. Nest-attentiveness was ~65% over 2 days at one nest, similar to the few temperate-zone Australian honeyeaters for which such data are available. The nestling period at the only successful nest that we observed was 14.3 ± 0.7 days, consistent with slightly smaller species in other honeyeater genera. Unlike most honeyeater species, nestling Dusky Honeyeaters hatched with much down. Diurnal brooding represented 20–28% of the presumed female’s time during the first 4 days after hatching, but had ceased by Day 6, earlier than in temperate-zone honeyeater species. The mean rate of food provisioning was very low (8.9 feeds/h) compared with that of most other honeyeater species studied to date. Evidence suggests that Dusky Honeyeaters may feed their young largely on nectar.
 
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