Nature conservation

Threatened species

Regent Honeyeater - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Anthochaera phrygia
Conservation status in NSW: Critically Endangered
Commonwealth status: Critically Endangered
Gazetted date: 05 Nov 2010
Profile last updated: 13 Dec 2016


The Regent Honeyeater is a striking and distinctive, medium-sized, black and yellow honeyeater with a sturdy, curved bill. Adults weigh 35 - 50 grams, are 20 - 24 cm long and have a wings-pan of 30 cm. Its head, neck, throat, upper breast and bill are black and the back and lower breast are pale lemon in colour with a black scalloped pattern. Its flight and tail feathers are edged with bright yellow. There is a characteristic patch of dark pink or cream-coloured facial-skin around the eye. Sexes are similar, though males are larger, darker and have larger patch of bare facial-skin. The call is a soft metallic bell-like song; birds are most vocal in non-breeding season. It has recently been placed in the genus Anthochaera along with the wattlebirds, and was formerly known by the name Xanthomyza phrygia.


The Regent Honeyeater mainly inhabits temperate woodlands and open forests of the inland slopes of south-east Australia. Birds are also found in drier coastal woodlands and forests in some years. Once recorded between Adelaide and the central coast of Queensland, its range has contracted dramatically in the last 30 years to between north-eastern Victoria and south-eastern Queensland. There are only three known key breeding regions remaining: north-east Victoria (Chiltern-Albury), and in NSW at Capertee Valley and the Bundarra-Barraba region. In NSW the distribution is very patchy and mainly confined to the two main breeding areas and surrounding fragmented woodlands. In some years flocks converge on flowering coastal woodlands and forests.

Habitat and ecology

  • The Regent Honeyeater is a flagship threatened woodland bird whose conservation will benefit a large suite of other threatened and declining woodland fauna. The species inhabits dry open forest and woodland, particularly Box-Ironbark woodland, and riparian forests of River Sheoak. Regent Honeyeaters inhabit woodlands that support a significantly high abundance and species richness of bird species. These woodlands have significantly large numbers of mature trees, high canopy cover and abundance of mistletoes.
  • Every few years non-breeding flocks are seen foraging in flowering coastal Swamp Mahogany and Spotted Gum forests, particularly on the central coast and occasionally on the upper north coast. Birds are occasionally seen on the south coast.
  • In the last 10 years Regent Honeyeaters have been recorded in urban areas around Albury where woodlands tree species such as Mugga Ironbark and Yellow Box were planted 20 years ago.
  • The Regent Honeyeater is a generalist forager, although it feeds mainly on the nectar from a relatively small number of eucalypts that produce high volumes of nectar. Key eucalypt species include Mugga Ironbark, Yellow Box, White Box and Swamp Mahogany. Other tree species may be regionally important. For example the Lower Hunter Spotted Gum forests have recently been demonstrated to support regular breeding events. Flowering of associated species such as Thin-leaved Stringybark Eucalyptus eugenioides and other Stringybark species, and Broad-leaved Ironbark E. fibrosa can also contribute important nectar flows at times. Nectar and fruit from the mistletoes Amyema miquelii, A. pendula and A. cambagei are also utilised. When nectar is scarce lerp and honeydew can comprise a large proportion of the diet. Insects make up about 15% of the total diet and are important components of the diet of nestlings.
  • Colour-banding of Regent Honeyeater has shown that the species can undertake large-scale nomadic movements in the order of hundreds of kilometres. However, the exact nature of these movements is still poorly understood. It is likely that movements are dependent on spatial and temporal flowering and other resource patterns. To successfully manage the recovery of this species a full understanding of the habitats used in the non-breeding season is critical.
  • There are three known key breeding areas, two of them in NSW - Capertee Valley and Bundarra-Barraba regions. The species breeds between July and January in Box-Ironbark and other temperate woodlands and riparian gallery forest dominated by River Sheoak. Regent Honeyeaters usually nest in horizontal branches or forks in tall mature eucalypts and Sheoaks. Also nest in mistletoe haustoria.
  • An open cup-shaped nest is constructed of bark, grass, twigs and wool by the female. Two or three eggs are laid and incubated by the female for 14 days. Nestlings are brooded and fed by both parents at an average rate of 23 times per hour and fledge after 16 days. Fledglings fed by both parents 29 times per hour.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

CMA CMA sub-region Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Border Rivers-GwydirBeardy River Hills Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirBinghi Plateau Known
Border Rivers-GwydirBundarra Downs (Part A) Known None
Border Rivers-GwydirBundarra Downs (Part B) Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirDeepwater Downs Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirEastern Nandewars (Part A) Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirEastern Nandewars (Part B) Known None
Border Rivers-GwydirGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts Known None
Border Rivers-GwydirInverell Basalts Known None
Border Rivers-GwydirKaputar Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirMoredun Volcanics Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirNandewar, Northern Complex Known None
Border Rivers-GwydirPeel Known None
Border Rivers-GwydirSevern River Volcanics Known None
Border Rivers-GwydirTenterfield Plateau Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirTingha Plateau Known None
Border Rivers-GwydirYarrowyck-Kentucky Downs Known None
Central WestBathurst Known None
Central WestCapertee Known None
Central WestHill End Known None
Central WestKerrabee Predicted None
Central WestLiverpool Range Predicted None
Central WestOberon Known None
Central WestOrange Known None
Central WestPilliga Known None
Central WestTalbragar Valley Known None
Central WestUpper Slopes Known None
Central WestWollemi Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanBathurst Known
Hawkesbury-NepeanBungonia Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanBurragorang (Part A) Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanCapertee (Part A) Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanCapertee (Part B) Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanCrookwell Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanCumberland Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanKanangra Known
Hawkesbury-NepeanPittwater Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanWollemi Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanYengo Known None
Hunter-Central RiversBarrington Predicted
Hunter-Central RiversEllerston Known None
Hunter-Central RiversHunter Known None
Hunter-Central RiversKaruah Manning Known None
Hunter-Central RiversKerrabee Known None
Hunter-Central RiversLiverpool Range Known None
Hunter-Central RiversMacleay Hastings Known
Hunter-Central RiversMummel Escarpment Predicted
Hunter-Central RiversPilliga Known
Hunter-Central RiversTomalla Predicted
Hunter-Central RiversUpper Hunter Known None
Hunter-Central RiversWalcha Plateau Predicted None
Hunter-Central RiversWollemi (Part A) Known None
Hunter-Central RiversWollemi (Part B) Known None
Hunter-Central RiversWollemi (Part C) Predicted None
Hunter-Central RiversWyong Known None
Hunter-Central RiversYengo Known None
LachlanCrookwell Known None
LachlanKanangra Known None
LachlanLower Slopes Known None
LachlanMurrumbateman Known None
LachlanOberon Known None
LachlanOrange Known None
LachlanUpper Slopes Known None
MurrayBondo Known None
MurrayLower Slopes Known None
MurrayMurray Fans Known None
MurrayUpper Slopes Known None
MurrumbidgeeBondo Known
MurrumbidgeeBondo Known
MurrumbidgeeKybeyan - Gourock Known None
MurrumbidgeeLower Slopes Known
MurrumbidgeeMonaro Known None
MurrumbidgeeMurrumbateman Known None
MurrumbidgeeMurrumbidgee Predicted
MurrumbidgeeUpper Slopes Known None
NamoiEastern Nandewars Known None
NamoiKaputar Known
NamoiLiverpool Plains (Part A) Known None
NamoiLiverpool Plains (Part B) Known None
NamoiLiverpool Range Known None
NamoiNorthern Basalts Predicted None
NamoiPeel Known None
NamoiPilliga (Part A) Known None
NamoiPilliga (Part B) Predicted None
NamoiWalcha Plateau Predicted None
Northern RiversArmidale Plateau Known None
Northern RiversCarrai Plateau Predicted None
Northern RiversCataract Predicted None
Northern RiversChaelundi Known None
Northern RiversClarence Lowlands Known None
Northern RiversClarence Sandstones Known None
Northern RiversCoffs Coast & Escarpment Known None
Northern RiversComboyne Plateau Predicted None
Northern RiversDalmorton Known None
Northern RiversEbor Basalts Predicted None
Northern RiversGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts (Part A) Predicted None
Northern RiversGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts (Part B) Predicted None
Northern RiversGuy Fawkes Predicted None
Northern RiversMacleay Gorges Known None
Northern RiversMacleay Hastings Known None
Northern RiversMurwillumbah (Qld - Southeast Hills and Ranges) Known None
Northern RiversNightcap Predicted None
Northern RiversNortheast Forest Lands Known None
Northern RiversRichmond - Tweed (Qld - Scenic Rim) (Part A) Known None
Northern RiversRichmond - Tweed (Qld - Scenic Rim) (Part B) Known None
Northern RiversRocky River Gorge Predicted None
Northern RiversRound Mountain Predicted None
Northern RiversStanthorpe Plateau Known None
Northern RiversUpper Manning Predicted None
Northern RiversWalcha Plateau Known None
Northern RiversWashpool Predicted None
Northern RiversWongwibinda Plateau Predicted None
Northern RiversWoodenbong Known None
Northern RiversYuraygir Known None
Southern RiversBateman Known None
Southern RiversBungonia Known None
Southern RiversEttrema Known None
Southern RiversIllawarra Known None
Southern RiversJervis Known None
Southern RiversKybeyan - Gourock (Part B) Known None
Southern RiversMonaro (Part A) Known None
Southern RiversSouth East Coastal Plains Known None
Southern RiversSouth East Coastal Ranges (Part C) Known None
Sydney MetroCumberland Known None
Sydney MetroPittwater (Part A) Known None
Sydney MetroPittwater (Part B) Known None
Sydney MetroSydney Cataract Known None