Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Elegant Honeyeater (Microptilotis cinereifrons)


French: Méliphage de Rand German: Graustirn-Honigfresser Spanish: Mielero elegante

Meliphaga gracilis cinereifrons


, 1936,

Rona, south-east New Guinea


Sometimes considered conspecific with M. gracilis, but differs in its pale narrow eyering (2); yellow ear-patch reaching behind eye (2); blackish lores, area around eye and supercilium (2); ochraceous vs whitish-yellow underwing-coverts (ns[1]); and slightly longer, thicker bill (1). Name stevensi (N watershed of SE New Guinea) has been used for a race either of present species or of M. analogus, and true identity remains uncertain; genetically based investigations indicate that specimens attributed to stevensi include cryptic variants of both species#R; further study in progress. Treated as monotypic, pending identification of N form.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Foothills and coasts of SE New Guinea E to Milne Bay (including Sariba I), in N from at least Goodenough Bay (Nowata), and in S from Malalaua. Also (perhaps racially distinct, identity uncertain) N watershed of SE New Guinea.

Descriptive notes

14–18 cm; 22 g. Nominate race is generally dark olive above, somewhat darker on forehead or top of head, and with diffusely darker blackish-olive lores and vaguely... read more


Usual call a sharp "tchick", "tick" or "tuk"; also thin trill ending... read more


Mainly lowland rainforest edge and secondary growth; also monsoon rainforest, including patches in... read more

Food and feeding

Nectar, fruit and insects. Forages from canopy to shrub layer, mainly in understorey and middle storey; apparently mainly by gleaning.... read more


Eggs in Oct and early Feb, fledglings in late Mar, and female with enlarged gonads early Sept. Nest a deep cup of grass, leaves and spider... read more


No indication of any movements.

Status and conservation

Not assessed. Probably not globally threatened. No estimates of abundance levels; generally considered fairly common to common.

Recommended citation

Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2019). Elegant Honeyeater (Microptilotis cinereifrons). 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 15 December 2019).