Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Forest Honeyeater (Microptilotis montanus)


French: Méliphage forestier German: Bergwaldhonigfresser Spanish: Mielero montano
Other common names: White-eared Honeyeater

Ptilotis montana


, 1880,

Arfak Mountains, New Guinea


Previously considered conspecific with M. albonotatus. Validity of some races, e.g. margaretae, questionable; indeed, “lack of objective diagnostic characters” prompted some recent authors#R to include all except steini within nominate. Birds of this species in Van Rees Mts and Foja Mts of uncertain racial identity, provisionally included in sepik. Seven subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. m. margaretae (Greenway, 1966) – mountains of Batanta, in West Papuan Is.
  • M. m. montanus (Salvadori, 1880) – mountains of Vogelkop, Onin Peninsula and Bomberai Peninsula, and Weyland Mts, in NW New Guinea.
  • M. m. steini (Stresemann & Paludan, 1932) – Yapen I, in Geelvink Bay.
  • M. m. sepik (Rand, 1936) – Van Rees Mts, Foja Mts, North Coastal Range, and N slopes of Central Range from Idenburg R E to Schrader Mts.
  • M. m. germanorum (E. J. O. Hartert, 1930) – Cyclops Mts, in N New Guinea.
  • M. m. huonensis (Rand, 1936) – Adelbert Mts and Huon Peninsula, in NE New Guinea.
  • M. m. aicora (Rand, 1936) – N slopes in SE New Guinea (E to Sibium Mts and Goodenough Bay), also in S at Cape Rodney.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–18 cm; male 29–34 g and one female 24 g (margaretae), two males 32 g and 33g (nominate), one male 32 g (germanorum), one male 27 g (... read more


    Main call a loud, slightly hoarse and upslurred “wheep”, similar to upslurred notes of... read more


    Interior of undisturbed hill and lower montane primary forest; found also in tall secondary forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes fruit, seeds (possibly ingested with fruit) and arthropods (mainly insects); probably also nectar, but said rarely, if ever,... read more


    No information. Some published details referring to this species thought to relate to M. albonotatus.  


    Nothing known; probably sedentary with some local movements.  

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. No estimates of population, but considered common at various sites throughout range.  

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2019). Forest Honeyeater (Microptilotis montanus). 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 10 December 2019).