Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Little Friarbird (Philemon citreogularis)


French: Polochion à menton jaune German: Glattstirn-Lederkopf Spanish: Filemón goligualdo

Tropidorhynchus citreogularis


, 1837,

interior of New South Wales, Australia


Often treated as conspecific with P. kisserensis (which see). Nominate race intergrades with sordidus in Queensland (from near Cape York S to around Georgetown); also shows slight clinal variation in size, with decrease in length of wing and increase in length of bill from S to N. Other proposed races in Australia are occidentalis (N Western Australia), breda (Melville I), johnstoni (Johnston R, in N Queensland) and carpentariae (NW Queensland), but all of these represent only minor and clinal variation in size and plumage tone; type of carpentariae may be an intergrade between nominate and sordidus. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. papuensis Mayr & Rand, 1935 – CS New Guinea (Merauke E to Oriomo R).
  • P. c. sordidus (Gould, 1848) – N Western Australia (mainly N of 19° S, including many offshore islands) E through Top End of Northern Territory (including Melville I, Groote Eylandt and Sir Edward Pellew Is) to NW Queensland (S to Selwyn Range).
  • P. c. citreogularis (Gould, 1837) – Queensland (from Cape York Peninsula and E of Diamantina Drainage Basin) to New South Wales (largely absent E of Great Divide in SE), N Victoria and extreme CE South Australia (along Murray R).
  • Descriptive notes

    27 cm (25–29); male 58–71 g and female 59–84 g (nominate), male 50–77 g and female 48–76·5 g (sordidus), one male 53 g and one... read more


    Not well known. Variety of calls, and can be very noisy (though usually not so noisy as larger... read more


    In New Guinea occupies savanna woodland and monsoon forest. In Australia common in wide range of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Predominantly nectar and invertebrates (mainly insects, also spiders); also flowers, fruit and seeds. Forages at all levels, mostly in... read more


    Nestlings recorded in Apr and late Oct and fledglings early Apr in New Guinea; in Australia season Aug–Apr (clutches Sept–Apr... read more


    Not properly known. Appears largely resident throughout range, but partly migratory in SE Australia... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. In New Guinea generally fairly common to common, and locally abundant; common in Australia. No estimates of total abundance, but recorded densities... read more

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2019). Little Friarbird (Philemon citreogularis). 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).