Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Least Concern

White-cheeked Honeyeater (Phylidonyris niger)


French: Méliphage fardé German: Weißohr-Honigfresser Spanish: Mielero cariblanco

Certhia nigra


, 1811,

“Neuholland” = region of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


In past, sometimes grouped with P. novaehollandiae and Purnella albifrons in a separate genus, Meliornis. Form gouldii differs in having a narrower white cheek patch (2), which exposes the black feathering running beneath it; this black is slightly more extensive on breast (1), white of belly generally purer (1) and bill appears marginally narrower (allow 1); available voice recordings indicate different vocabulary (allow 1)#R; hence further study may well result in species rank for this taxon. Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. n. gouldii (Schlegel, 1872) – Moustached Honeyeater – coastal and subcoastal SW Australia from Murchison R S to Esperance–Israelite Bay, occasionally E to Eyre Bird Observatory (50 km S of Cocklebiddy).
  • P. n. niger (Bechstein, 1811) – White-cheeked Honeyeater – E Australia on and E of Great Divide, from NE Queensland (Mt Windsor Tableland S, inland to Wongabel, Ravenshoe and upper reaches of Burdekin R, to Paluma Range) and, disjunctly, from Eungella National Park (inland from Mackay) S to SE New South Wales (Illawarra region to Shoalhaven R).
  • Descriptive notes

    16–20 cm; male 15·5–25 g and female 15·5–20·5 g (nominate), two males 18·1 g and 21·5 g and one female 16 g (gouldii... read more


    Noisy, with frequent loud chattering. Four main call types recognized. Variety of brief calls,... read more


    Primarily low moist to wet heathland or, less often, drier heathland, or ecotone between dry and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly nectar, also insects. Frequently takes nectar from Banksia and Eucalyptus, and, in SW Australia, Dryandra... read more


    Recorded in all months, with peak in winter, eggs or estimated laying Feb–Dec (mainly Apr–Aug); in New South Wales 80% of... read more


    Apparently largely resident, with at least some movements; occurrence or changes in numbers often... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common; sparsely distributed in extreme SW. No estimates of global abundance, but recorded densities of 0·06–0·4 birds/ha.

    Recommended citation

    Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2020). White-cheeked Honeyeater (Phylidonyris niger). 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).