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Mistletoebird - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by peterday
Windy Point Quarry, Adelaide, South Australia September 2015
Dicaeum hirundinaceum

Includes Salvadori's Flowerpecker


Photo © by peterday
Manning Flora and Fauna Reserve, South Australia September 2019

9 cm (3½ in)

  • plumage bluish-black
  • chin and chest red or reddish (Moluccan subspecies)
  • undertail red or pinkish (Moluccan subspecies)
  • belly white or reddish buff (Moluccan subspecies)
  • belly with black centre stripe


  • upperparts dark grey
  • belly light grey
  • undertail with a slight red tinge

Juvenile has an orange bill with a black tip


Australia, Papua New Guinea, and eastern Indonesia.


Sub-adult male
Photo © by Ken Doy
Sandy Camp Rd Wetlands, Queensland, Australia, June 2018

Moluccan island subspecies have quite different plumage. Reference [4] elevates these (kiense, fulgidum) as "Salvadori's Flowerpecker" (D. kiense).


There are 4 subspecies [1], some of which might be better elevated to specific status:

  • D. h. kiense: "Salvadori's Flowerpecker". Southern Wallacea (Watubela, Tayandu and Kai islands) [male underparts suffused with pinkish than Australian Mistletoebird; red of throat/chest and undertail less saturated, more pinkish. Female similar to Australian Mistletoebird, perhaps with stronger grey streaking on flanks, undertail paler pink]
  • D. h. fulgidum: "Salvadori's Flowerpecker". Tanimbar Island (Yamdena, Larat and Lutu) [thicker central belly stripe than kiense, warmer buff underparts. Female browner than kiense with warmer buff vent area]
  • D. h. ignicolle: Aru Islands
  • D. h. hirundinaceum: Islands in Torres Strait and treed areas of mainland Australia


Photo © by thunor
Cobar, New South Wales, Australia, 23 February 2021

Trees and shrubs; anywhere where mistletoe grows.



Their diet consists of mistletoe berries, fruit, nectar, pollen, spiders, moths, .


Both adults build the nest* of crushed plants, palm threads and spider webs.

*Most on-line sources state that only the female builds the nest, but this picture shows a male collecting nesting material from a palm.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Bird Forum Member observations
  3. Cheke, R., J. del Hoyo, N. Collar, C. Mann, and G. M. Kirwan (2020). Mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundinaceum), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, B. K. Keeney, P. G. Rodewald, and T. S. Schulenberg, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.mistle1.01
  4. Eaton, JA, B van Balen, NW Brickle, FE Rheindt 2021. Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago (Greater Sundas and Wallacea), Second Edition. Lynx Editions. ISBN978-84-16728-44-2

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1