yellow tufted honeyeater

August 1, 2016 - Helmeted Honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops cassidix)

A subspecies of the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, these birds are only found in a small portion of the forests of southern Victoria, Australia. They feed on nectar, invertebrates, and sap, but the majority of their diet is made up of lerps (crystalized honeydew created as protective coverings by insect larvae, found on Eucalyptus trees). Pairs defend breeding territories, which are grouped into neighborhoods. If one is invaded, the neighboring birds will help to drive away the intruder. Both males and females care for the chicks. Helmeted Honeyeaters are critically endangered. While conservation efforts have shown some success, as of 2014, their population was estimated at around 130 individuals.