Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Ornate Honeyeater (Melidectes torquatus)


French: Méliphage maquillé German: Zimtbrust-Honigfresser Spanish: Mielero maquillado
Other common names: Ornate Melidectes

Melidectes torquatus

P. L. Sclater

, 1874,

Hatam, Arfak Mountains, Vogelkop Peninsula, north-west New Guinea


Races nuchalis and mixtus may not be reliably distinguishable from nominate#R, and polyphonus and cahni may also need to be reassessed. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. t. torquatus P. L. Sclater, 1874 – mountains of Vogelkop, in NW New Guinea.
  • M. t. nuchalis Mayr, 1936 – Weyland Mts and S slopes of Nassau Mts and Oranje Mts, in W & WC New Guinea.
  • M. t. mixtus Rand, 1941 – upper slopes of Central Ranges of C New Guinea from Oranje Mts (Baliem R region) E to Victor Emanuel Mts and Telefomin area.
  • M. t. polyphonus Mayr, 1931 – mountains of NE inland New Guinea, including Adelbert Mts, and from Bismarck Range (upper Wahgi region) E to Herzog and Kuper Ranges.
  • M. t. cahni Mertens, 1923 – mountains of Huon Peninsula, in NE New Guinea.
  • M. t. emilii A. B. Meyer, 1886 – mountains of SE New Guinea.
  • Descriptive notes

    23 cm; one male 48 g and female 39–45 g (nominate), male 40–58 g and female 34–44 g (polyphonus), one female 41·5g (mixtus). Male... read more


    Noisy at times, with loud raucous vocalizations. Song of repeated loud, rollicking but varied... read more


    Lower and middle montane forests, forest edge, open secondary growth, scrub, agri-gardens and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet invertebrates, mainly insects and their larvae, including Lepidoptera, bugs (Hemiptera) and beetles (Coleoptera); also nectar and... read more


    Few reliable data. Appears to breed in most months from late wet season through to late dry season: nestlings late Mar to early May, and... read more


    No indication of any movements; probably sedentary.  

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally fairly common to common in some regions, and scarce to rare elsewhere. Suggested that, in view of preference for forest edge, open second... read more

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2019). Ornate Honeyeater (Melidectes torquatus). 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).