Once heard all along the eastern coast of Australia, from Brisbane to Adelaide, the soft metallic chiming call of the Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia) is now a rare sound.
Living in dry box-ironbark eucalypt woodlands and forests, Regent Honeyeaters prefer the most fertile areas along river valleys and flats. They feed on the nectar of flowering eucalypts, as well as some invertebrates and lerps. Regent Honeyeaters are highly mobile and capable of travelling long distances to follow the flowering patterns of the eucalypts on which they feed.
Populations of Regent Honeyeaters began declining in 1940s due to the loss, fragmentation and degradation of their habitat. They are no longer found in south-western Victoria, and are probably extinct in South Australia.
Key reasons for this decline are:
- Clearing and fragmentation of woodlands for agriculture
- Increased dieback and tree decline on farmland
- Lack of regeneration of native vegetation due to grazing by livestock and rabbits
- Removal of large spreading trees from box-ironbark woodlands as part of forestry practices to promote the dense regrowth of immature trees for fence posts, firewood and timber supplies
Saving the Regent Honeyeater
Zoos Victoria is working to change the fate of threatened species and is committed to Fighting Extinction – we will ensure that no more Victorian terrestrial vertebrate species become extinct. Melbourne Zoo is breeding Regent Honeyeaters to help with the recovery of this species.
How can you help?
Join in tree planting days with community groups, e.g. the Regent Honeyeater Project
- Wipe for Wildlife - Australians currently flush millions of trees down the toilet each year! By making the switch to recycled toilet paper, you can help save our environment and wildlife
- Visit one of our three zoos - Zoos Victoria is a not-for-profit organisation - we rely on the support of our visitors and members. By visiting Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo or Werribee Open Range Zoo, you will be supporting our work to fight extinction. You can see Regent Honeyeaters at Melbourne Zoo
- Act Wild - Join the growing number of Wild Activists taking action for local wildlife. You can get grubby, get creative and find out about local conservation events.
Plans and publications
- Regent Honeyeaters move to follow the flowering patterns of eucalypts through their range.