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Ruby-throated Myzomela - BirdForum Opus

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Alternative Names: Red-spot Honeyeater, Red-spot Myzomela, Red-throated Honeyeater, Red-throated Myzomela, Ruby-throated Honeyeater

Photo by Mehd Halaouate
Taja, Papua, September 2006
Myzomela eques

Identification

14 cm 13.8 g 5.4 inches

Male

  • Blackish-brown with slightly lighter underparts
  • Iridescent red patch on chin and throat
  • faint red forehead spot
  • Underwing pale grey-brown darker and more diffuse at trailing edge and tip
  • Iris Pale to golden brown
  • Beak black
  • Legs dark grey

Female

  • Smaller than male
  • Lighter and duller, dark brown or dark grey-brown
  • slightly reddish brown on rump and uppertail coverts
  • Frequently lacks red spot on forehead
  • Paler brown outer edges to remiges.

Juvenile

  • Undescribed
  • Immatures like female but paler and greyer, dark brown-grey, paler below, with or without faint or red wash on forehead and cheeks, weak gular stripe.

Distribution

Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Taxonomy

Forms a superspecies with Drab Myzomela, White-chinned Myzomela, Ashy Myzomela and Dusky Myzomela. Frequently treated as conspecific with Ashy Myzomela

Subspecies

There are 4 subspecies recognised:[1]

  • M. e. eques:
  • Northwest New Guinea, Waigeo, Salawati and Misool islands
  • M. e. primitiva: Darker with smaller throat patch
  • Northern New Guinea (Geelvink Bay to Astrolabe Bay)
  • M. e. nymani: Male 15.8 g, 6.2 inches, female 12.4 g, 4.9 inches. Greyer with red covering all of chin and throat
  • Southern and eastern New Guinea
  • M. e. karimuiensis: Much darker than other subspecies with more intensely red throat patch, tail is a bit longer
  • Eastern New Guinea

Habitat

Primary and tall secondary rainforest, regrowth and forest edge. At Lakekamu, found in lowland alluvial rainforest and edge.
Up to 500–600 m, locally to 1200 m.

Behaviour

Diet

Mainly nectar, also insects, and figs growing from tree trunks. Forages mostly in the upper canopy of tall flowering trees, occasionally in vines and epiphytes, less frequenty in lower levels and scarcer in the lowest levels. Often forages on flowering sago (Metroxylon) by gleaning and probing. Not as active as congeners. Frequently in flocks of up to 20–30 birds in flowering trees and with other honeyeaters, including congeners such as Papuan Black Myzomela, Mountain Myzomela and Red Myzomela, also Red-flanked Lorikeet, infrequently alone or in pairs. Frequently joins mixed-species flocks.

Breeding

Nest with young observed in late March, breeding in east of range also believed to breed between late July and early August, later in west. Nest a scruffy, meagre cup made from strips of strong black arboreal lichen, suspended from fork of thin leafy branch, well hidden by foliage.

Vocalisation

High-pitched “chip” repeated occasionally. When displaying or defending territory gives a string of melodious chirps ending in hissing.

Movement

Resident, could be territorial, localised dispersal to utilise flowering trees.

References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2015)

Recommended Citation

External Links

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