Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

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Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Acanthagenys rufogularis, is a medium sized bird at 22 to 27cm. It is a very nomadic bird, and the adult birds have whitish stiff feathers behind the bill. Throat and breast are cinnamon/buff. Crown and back are grey/brown, scalloped with darker brown. Wing feathers are edged with white, the rump is off-white. Underparts are streaked dark grey/brown, the tail is dark with a white tip. Dark pink curved bill is tipped with black. Bare pink skin under the blue eye, and dark mask. Immature is a paler version of the adult with a brown eye. Call strong, repetitive and metallic.

Feeding Habits

Feeding in groups or alone, taking a varied diet of nectar, insects, small lizards and berries.


July-January. Builds a flimsy deep cup of grass, leaves and cobwebs, lined with plant down or wool. It hangs by the rim in leafy shrubs, mistletoe and vines. Two-to-three eggs are laid, which the female incubates.

Places to Look

The Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater is known to only live in dry habitats.

  • Desert scrub
  • Mulga
  • Woodlands.

Traditional Owners

The Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater is known to provide awareness of plentiful food source of honey is near.


NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater © Birdlife Townsville 2008

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