Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Papuan Black Myzomela (Myzomela nigrita)


French: Myzomèle noir German: Schwarzrücken-Honigfresser Spanish: Mielero negro

Myzomela nigrita

G. R. Gray

, 1858,

Aru Islands


In the past, treated as conspecific with M. pammelaena and M. tristrami. Races louisiadensis (some males have red central crown shown by forbesi) and meyeri sometimes merged into nominate#R. Little-known race steini needs research to determine whether it represents a separate species: male (n=2) is a matt smoky-grey vs glossy black, while female (n=1) is almost without a red throat, less yellowish grey below and strikingly small; tails of the two males are longer than sample of nominate and meyeri. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. n. steini Stresemann & Paludan, 1932 – Waigeo Black Myzomela – Waigeo I, in West Papuan Is.
  • M. n. pluto W. A. Forbes, 1879 – Mios Num I, in Geelvink Bay.
  • M. n. meyeri Salvadori, 1881 – Yapen I and W, N & E New Guinea.
  • M. n. nigrita G. R. Gray, 1858 – Papuan Black Myzomela – Aru Is and SC New Guinea (Eilanden R E to Fly R).
  • M. n. forbesi E. P. Ramsay, 1880 – D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago (Goodenough I, Fergusson I, Normanby I, Dobu I), off SE New Guinea.
  • M. n. louisiadensis E. J. O. Hartert, 1898 – Louisiade Archipelago (Woodlark I, Misima I, Tagula I), E of D’Entrecasteaux.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–12 cm; male 8·3–10·8 g (all races except steini and pluto combined), two males 9 g and 10·5 g (nominate), male 9–... read more


    Main call a dry, high-pitched “sit” or “zeet”, given often, and incessantly... read more


    Hill and lower montane primary forest, forest edge and tall secondary growth; also in eucalypt... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar and small arthropods (insects), occasionally berries. Specialist of upper part of crowns of flowering trees. Of 77 observations in... read more


    Female with possible nesting material seen chased by a male in late Jul (middle dry season), six “breeding” specimens in Mar... read more


    Mainly resident, but moves locally. Moves from foothills to lowlands to exploit flowering trees, e.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common throughout range. Black-plumaged birds seen far more than brown-plumaged individuals, indicating a possible bias in sex ratio or... read more

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2019). Papuan Black Myzomela (Myzomela nigrita). 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).