The Helmeted Honeyeater


The Helmeted Honeyeater Lichenostomus Melanops Cassidix (Gould, 1867) is the larger and more brilliantly coloured race of the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater. Previously regarded as a separate species , recent studies indicate an area of interbreeding between it and the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater.

Pure populations of this attractive honeyeater are now restricted to a small area on Woori Yallock Creek near Yellingbo on the outskirts of Melbourne. The Yellingbo State Wildlife Reserve was established to protect the few remaining colonies numbering some 100-150 birds. The Helmeted Honeyeater is particularly vulnerable to habitat disturbances as it requires a combination of manna and swamp gums, with tea-trees and shrubby bushes alongside grass-lined watercourses.

The birds are about 20cm in total length and the sexes are similar. The upperparts of the body are olive-grey with the outer wing and tail feathers greenish-yellow. Underparts are yellowish-green with dark streaks. The sides of the head are glossy black with golden ear-tufts and a yellow throat. Both crown and fore-head are golden yellow with the latter displaying plushlike feathers projecting slightly over the base of the bill and forming a distinctive helmet.

Proclaimed by the Governor in Council on 10th March, 1971.