Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Bismarck Black Myzomela (Myzomela pammelaena)


French: Myzomèle ébène German: Ebenholz-Honigfresser Spanish: Mielero de ébano
Other common names: Ebony Myzomela

Myzomela pammelæna

P. L. Sclater

, 1877,

Nares Harbour, Admiralty Is, Bismarck Archipelago


Formerly treated as conspecific with M. nigrita. In past suggested as being conspecific with M. lafargei, M. eichhorni, M. malaitae, M. melanocephala and M. tristrami. Overall, racial differences slight. Population of Wuvulu I currently placed in race ernstmayri, but may belong to a different race. Individuals recently observed on Timor I (in Kimbe Bay), off NC New Britain, of uncertain race (perhaps nigerrima). Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. p. ernstmayri Meise, 1929 – small islands W of Admiralty Is, including Wuvulu, Manu, Ninigo, Anchorites (Kaniet) and Hermit.
  • M. p. pammelaena P. L. Sclater, 1877 – Admiralty Is (E Manus, probably established; Rambutyo, Lou, Nauna, and other small islands, including Mandrin, Baluan, Sivisa, Los Reyes, San Miguel, Ponam, Hauwei and Tong).
  • M. p. hades Meise, 1929 – St Matthias Group (Mussau, Eloaua, Emirau and Tench), NW of New Hanover.
  • M. p. ramsayi Finsch, 1886 – Tingwon I and small islands off New Hanover (e.g. Tigak) and off N New Ireland, in Bismarck Archipelago.
  • M. p. nigerrima Salomonsen, 1966 – islands of Long, Crown and Tolokiwa and associated small islets (including Midi, Hein and islets of Siassi Group), between NE New Guinea and Umboi.
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12·7 cm; male average 17 g, female average 14·6 g, male 12–14 g (hades, ramsayi), male 13·2–20 g (other races).... read more


    Main call of race nigerrima a relatively loud (for Myzomela), hoarse, unmusical... read more


    Virtually all available vegetated habitats: primary forest, secondary growth, shrubland, coconut... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar and insects. Forages from understorey and shrub layer to canopy, by gleaning and probing; commonly in flowering shrubs (including... read more


    Single nest (with nestlings) reported, on 29th Apr: a small cup of fine plant fibre, suspended from horizontal fork 2·4 m above... read more


    Probably largely resident, with local movements. Probably now established on Manus, where formerly... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restrictedrange species: present in Admiralty Islands EBA, in St Matthias Islands EBA, and in New Britain and New Ireland EBA. Generally common to... read more

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2020). Bismarck Black Myzomela (Myzomela pammelaena). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 January 2020).