Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Graceful Honeyeater (Microptilotis gracilis)


French: Méliphage gracile German: Feenhonigfresser Spanish: Mielero grácil

Ptilotis gracilis


, 1866,

Cape York, north Queensland, Australia


Sometimes treated as conspecific with M. cinereifrons and has been thought possibly conspecific with M. vicina. In N Queensland races may intergrade in narrow zone roughly between Cooktown and Ayton. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. g. gracilis (Gould, 1866) – Aru Is, S New Guinea (Triton Bay E to Purari Delta), Bristow I (off Daru, in extreme N Torres Strait), and coastal and subcoastal NE Australia (N Queensland from Cape York S to Archer–Mitchell Rivers and, in E, to Princess Charlotte Bay and Cooktown–Ayton region).
  • M. g. imitatrix (Mathews, 1912) – coastal NE Queensland from around Princess Charlotte Bay and Cooktown S to Halifax Bay and S Paluma Range, and inland to Atherton Tableland.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–17 cm; male 14–17 g and female 12·5–16·5 g (nominate), male 14–17·9 g and female 12·5–17 g (imitatrix).... read more


    Rather noisy. Throughout range, “chip” appears to be most common call: in Australia a... read more


    In Australia, rainforest or forest edge, including vine scrubs and regrowth rainforest, and in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar, fruit and insects. Forages in canopy, mid-canopy (including in crowns of substage trees) and understorey shrubs, usually 2–18... read more


    In NE Australia breeds Sept–Feb, with estimated start of laying Oct–Nov and Jan–Feb and nestlings late Oct to early Jan;... read more


    Apparently resident, but some local movements.  

    Status and conservation

    Not assessed. Probably not globally threatened. Considered generally common in New Guinea. Recorded density of 0·16 birds/ha in NE Queensland. No information on... read more

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2020). Graceful Honeyeater (Microptilotis gracilis). 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).