Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Fuscous Honeyeater (Ptilotula fusca)


French: Méliphage grisâtre German: Olivkehl-Honigfresser Spanish: Mielero fusco

Meliphaga fusca


, 1837,

New South Wales = region of Sydney, east Australia


In past, often treated as conspecific with P. flavescens. Races intergrade in fairly narrow region of Dawson–Mackenzie Rivers, in CE Queensland; birds from Dawson R described as race dawsoni, but represent part of this intergrading population. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. f. subgermana (Mathews, 1912) – E Queensland on and E of Great Divide (from Big–Windsor Tablelands SE of Cooktown, S to Dawson–Mackenzie Basin), in NE Australia.
  • P. f. fusca (Gould, 1837) – E & SE Australia from Dawson–Mackenzie Basin S to Victoria (W to South Australia border region).
  • Descriptive notes

    13·5–17 cm; male 12–24 g and female 13·7–19 g (nominate), male 14–20 g and one female 14 g (subgermana). Nominate race breeding... read more


    During foraging often gives single “chip” calls, probably as contact or location call.... read more


    Dry, open sclerophyll forests and woodlands dominated by range of eucalypts and with dense or... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly arthropods (insects, some spiders), honeydew (including of Eriococcidae) and lerp (of Psyllidae); also nectar, mainly from eucalypts... read more


    May–Mar, mainly late winter to late summer, with clutches recorded Jul–Feb; at Armidale (NE New South Wales) season starts... read more


    Variable. Resident or partly so over much of range, with some local movements. Altitudinal migrant... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Reasonably common or locally common. No estimates of total population; recorded densities of 0·1–5·4 birds/ha. Thought to have... read more

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2020). Fuscous Honeyeater (Ptilotula fusca). 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).