Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Green-backed Honeyeater (Glycichaera fallax)


French: Méliphage trompeur German: Grünmantel-Honigfresser Spanish: Mielero dorsiverde

Glycichaera fallax


, 1878,

Hall Sound, south-east New Guinea


Birds on Salawati of uncertain race; provisionally placed in pallida, but may belong with nominate. Populations of Misool, Aru Is and lowland NW New Guinea often separated as race poliocephala, but putative colour differences from nominate are minimal and variable#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. f. pallida Stresemann & Paludan, 1932 – West Papuan Is (Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati).
  • G. f. fallax Salvadori, 1878 – Misool (West Papuan Is), lowland New Guinea, including Yapen I (Geelvink Bay), and Aru Is.
  • G. f. claudi (Mathews, 1914) – NE Queensland (E Cape York Peninsula S as far as Princess Charlotte Bay), in NE Australia.
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12·5 cm; male 7·5–18g and female 8–12 g (New Guinea), two males 10·5–11·5 g and female 9·5 g (claudi).... read more


    In New Guinea, usual call described as repeated high-pitched “chick”, or as repetitive... read more


    Primary and secondary tropical rainforest and rainforest edge, in Australia including gallery... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily insectivorous; also takes small fruits (including of Poikilospermum), and seen to forage among eucalypt flowers, taking... read more


    Very poorly known. In New Guinea, nesting observed in Aug and Dec, juveniles in Jul and Oct, and birds in breeding condition Jul, Oct and... read more


    Apparently resident, probably with some local movements.  

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common in New Guinea, but generally considered uncommon there. In Australia, race claudi fairly common but occupying only a small... read more

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2020). Green-backed Honeyeater (Glycichaera fallax). 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 20 February 2020).