Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

Smoky Honeyeater (Melipotes fumigatus)


French: Méliphage enfumé German: Aschbrust-Honigfresser Spanish: Mielero ahumado
Other common names: Common Smoky Honeyeater, Plain Smoky Honeyeater

Melipotes fumigatus

A. B. Meyer

, 1886,

Hufeisengebirge (south-east Owen Stanley Range), south-east New Guinea


For status in Fakfak Mts, see M. gymnops. Published statements that present species is abundant in Foja Mts above 1200 m presumably refer to recently described M. carolae. Race goliathi intergrades with nominate in Herzog Mts. Race kumawa might be better placed with M. gymnops or might even represent a separate species. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. f. kumawa Diamond, 1985 – Kumawa Mts, in NW New Guinea (S Bomberai Peninsula).
  • M. f. goliathi Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1911 – Central Ranges from Weyland Mts and Nassau Mts E to Bismarck–Kubor Mts (including Mt Bosavi) and W Herzog Mts, also Cyclops Mts and C North Coastal Range (Bewani Mts).
  • M. f. fumigatus A. B. Meyer, 1886 – E Herzog Mts and mountains of SE New Guinea.
  • Descriptive notes

    21·5–22 cm; male 46–60 g and female 42–54 g (nominate), male 46–68 g and female 44–57 g (goliathi). Nominate race has forehead,... read more


    Generally silent; occasionally a thin “sit sit sit” or weak sibilant “swit swit... read more


    Mid-montane and montane primary forest, including high-altitude stunted moss forest, forest edge,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Predominantly frugivorous, but insects and some floral parts also taken; not known to eat nectar, and one observed while pecking at flowers... read more


    Season at least late dry season, with eggs late Sept and early Oct, and nestlings and fledglings late Aug to late Oct, and unseen nestling... read more


    Almost certainly largely sedentary or resident, possibly with some local movements, e.g. a few at... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Considered generally common to abundant, and ubiquitous in Central Ranges.  

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2020). Smoky Honeyeater (Melipotes fumigatus). 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).