Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Obscure Honeyeater (Caligavis obscura)


French: Méliphage obscur German: Laubhonigfresser Spanish: Mielero oscuro

Ptilotis obscura

De Vis

, 1897,

Mount Scratchley, south-east New Guinea


Sister to C. subfrenata; these two are sometimes placed in Oreornis (see Genus text), but genetic data#R show them to have a sister relationship to C. chrysops. Races differ little, and species sometimes treated as monotypic#R. Populations of Weyland Mts intermediate between nominate and viridifrons. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. o. viridifrons (Salomonsen, 1966) – mountains of Vogelkop, in NW New Guinea.
  • C. o. obscura (De Vis, 1897) – patchily distributed on lower slopes of N, C & SE New Guinea E from Weyland Mts.
  • Descriptive notes

    18·5–19 cm; male 24–31g, female 24–27 g, mean of 20 unsexed 26·5 g (nominate). Nominate race has forehead and forecrown dusky grey, merging to... read more


    Often quiet. Song ebullient, of 2 notes (second lower than first) followed by 4 rapid and higher-... read more


    Primary forest (rainforest), mainly hill forest, less often in secondary growth and disturbed... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes nectar, small arthropods (insects) and fruit (including of Ficus). Forages mainly in lower and middle stages of... read more


    Two active nests known, one in SW (Mimika R) at end Aug and the other in E (Crater Mt) in mid-Oct; seven specimens from Eastern Highlands... read more


    Resident at Crater Mountain Wildlife Management Area; possibly vagrant near Brown R. Occurrence in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally uncommon, but can be locally common or abundant (e.g. Crater Mt, Eloa Valley, and in SW of range). Best detected by vocalizations, but... read more

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2020). Obscure Honeyeater (Caligavis obscura). 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).