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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Honeyeaters use supplementary feeding stations in heathland in New South Wales, Australia

Published source details

Armstrong D. (1992) Use of sugar-water feeders to supplement energy availability to honeyeaters for experimental tests. Emu, 92, 170-179


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide supplementary food for nectar-feeding songbirds to increase adult survival Bird Conservation

A replicated study on heathland in New South Wales, Australia in 1986-8 (Armstrong 1992) found that ten species of honeyeater were observed using supplementary feeders over 129 hours of observation. The most common were New Holland honeyeaters Phylidonyris novaehollandiae, white-cheeked honeyeaters P. niger, yellow-faced honeyeaters Meliphaga chrysops, whiteeared honeyeaters Meliphaga leucotis, Little Wattlebirds Anthochaera chrysoptera. Species showed seasonal variations in use, but these were not consistent across species. Between eight and 14 feeders were distributed across a 4 ha patch of heath, at least 30 m from the centre of any known honeyeater territory. Feeders consisted of commercial hummingbird feeders modified so that they had a wider drinking hole, or larger plastic bottles with a curved drinking tube. Feeders were filled with 25% by weight sugar solution for four 48 hour periods each month. Feeders were also visited (briefly) by Silvereyes Zosterops lateralis, an eastern whipbird Psophodes olivaceus and non-birds (Antechinus – a small marsupial and honeybees Apis mellifera).