The Red Wattlebird feeds on nectar, which it obtains by probing flowers


Red Wattlebird - Anthochaera carunculata

What does it look and sound like?
The Red Wattlebird is a large, 33 to 37 cm, and noisy honeyeater. It has several distinctive but unmusical calls, including coughs, a harsh "yac a yac" and loud "chok". The common name refers to the fleshy reddish wattle on the side of the neck. The plumage is grey-brown on the body with prominent white streaks and yellow on the belly. The face is pale and the tail is long with a white-tip.

Young Red Wattlebirds are duller than the adult and have a brown, rather than reddish, eye. The wattle is also very small and pale.

Red Wattlebirds are aggressive to smaller honeyeaters, and drive them away from food sources. Red Wattlebirds are the second largest of the Australian Honeyeaters, however, two species of friarbird, a closely related honeyeater, are similar in size.

In Tasmania, the Red Wattlebird is replaced by the larger Yellow Wattlebird, A. paradoxa, which is the largest of the Australian honeyeaters. This species is identified by its long, yellow wattle.

What habitat does it live in?
The Red Wattlebird occurs in forests, woodlands and gardens, where it aggressively protects the food-bearing plants from other honeyeater species. Its range extends throughout the southern areas of the Australian mainland.

What food does it eat?
The Red Wattlebird feeds on nectar, which it obtains by probing flowers. Some insects are also eaten; these are either taken from foliage or caught in mid-air. Berries and the honeydew from insects add to the bird’s diet.

Where and when does it breed?
Red Wattlebirds raise 1 or 2 broods in a season, which extends from July to December. Both sexes have been recorded sharing incubation duties, but often the female will do this alone. Both sexes feed the 2 or 3 young, which leave the nest 15 days after hatching.