Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Dusky Myzomela (Myzomela obscura)


French: Myzomèle ombré German: Queensland-Rußhonigfresser Spanish: Mielero sombrío

Myzomela obscura


, 1843,

Port Essington, Northern Territory, Australia


Hitherto treated as conspecific with M. simplex, M. rubrotincta and M. rubrobrunnea; recent authors have suggested taxonomic revision of these taxa#R#R#R#R. Racial identity of birds of Adi I uncertain; provisionally included in fumata. Race aruensis perhaps inseparable from fumata#R. Proposed race munna (Cape York) included in harterti. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. o. fumata (Bonaparte, 1850) – New Guinea from S Vogelkop (S from Sorong) E along S coast, including Adi I (off Triton Bay), to Trans-Fly and Milne Bay and, in SE, on N coast E from near Popondetta; also islands of N Torres Strait (probably Boigu and Sabai).
  • M. o. aruensis Kinnear, 1924 – Aru Is.
  • M. o. harterti Mathews, 1911 – islands of C & S Torres Strait, and NE Australia (coastal and subcoastal Queensland from Cape York Peninsula S to Moreton Bay).
  • M. o. obscura Gould, 1843 – Tiwi Is (Bathurst I, Melville I) and N Northern Territory (Arnhem Land), in N Australia.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–15 cm; male 11·8–15·1 g and female 10–12·3 g (nominate), male 11·8–17·5g, female 9–12·5 g and sexes... read more


    In Australia, usual call a short mournful whistle or single note, often repeated. Song described as... read more


    In Australia, mainly dense coastal or lowland rainforests and monsoon forests, also in such... read more

    Food and feeding

    Little known outside Australia. Mainly nectar, some arthropods (insects, spiders), with nectar also very important in diet of nestlings.... read more


    Poorly known. In Australia breeding recorded in virtually all months, with eggs May, Jul, Sept and Nov and nestlings and fledglings Mar–Dec... read more


    Not well known. Primarily resident in most of range, with maximum recorded movement of 1·2 km in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common in New Guinea; locally common in Australia. Reports from Misool (West Papuan Is) and, in Australia, from Groote Eylandt... read more

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L., Ford, H. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Dusky Myzomela (Myzomela obscura). 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 25 February 2020).