Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-sided Honeyeater (Ptiloprora erythropleura)


French: Méliphage à flancs roux German: Rotflanken-Honigfresser Spanish: Mielero flanquirrufo

Ptilotis erythropleura


, 1876,

Arfak Mountains, north-west New Guinea


Formerly considered conspecific with P. guisei, P. mayri and P. perstriata, but the four differ in size, plumage (crown colour, dorsal coloration, colour of wing-covert edgings, distinctness of ventral spotting, flank colour) and iris colour. Present species sympatric (and with broad altitudinal overlap) with P. perstriata over distance of at least 400 km in W New Guinea. Birds from Wissel Lakes area (between Weyland Mts and Snow Mts) described as race incerta, but validity unclear and may represent a hybrid form between race dammermani and P. p. perstriata; further study needed. In NW (Bomberai Peninsula), Fakfak and Kumawa birds#R resemble dammermani in having green irides (red in nominate of Arfak and Tamrau) but differ in yellow-olive ventral wash and (some, not all individuals) rufous flanks, also vocal differences (some calls with two-note or three-note pattern, high-pitched, plaintive, and monotonously repeated); both populations provisionally included in nominate race, but more study required in order to determine whether they represent one or two undescribed races, or even new species. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. e. erythropleura (Salvadori, 1876) – mountains of Vogelkop and Bomberai Peninsula, in NW New Guinea.
  • P. e. dammermani Stresemann & Paludan, 1934 – Weyland Mts E to Nassau Range and Oranje Mts, in W New Guinea.
  • Descriptive notes

    17 cm; male 21–25 g and female 18·5–20·5 g (nominate), one female from Kumawa Mts 21 g. Nominate race has head and neck leaden grey, fine and dense... read more


    Song consists of plaintive whistled “chwee” notes given at rate of 2 per second. In... read more


    Mid-montane and montane forest and secondary growth. Recorded at 1300–2800 m; heard commonly... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes arthropods (mainly insects), nectar and fruit (including berries). Forages mainly in middle and upper levels of vegetation,... read more


    No information.  


    Presumed sedentary.  

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restrictedrange species: present in West Papuan Highlands EBA and in Central Papuan Mountains EBA. Not well known. Considered generally uncommon, but... read more

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2020). Rufous-sided Honeyeater (Ptiloprora erythropleura). 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).