Length: 12-16 cm Common, locally nomadic
The Brown Honeyeater is widespread across Australia but rarely seen in South Australia and not present in Victoria or Tasmania. Also found in Bali, other Indonesian islands and PNG. Lives in varied habitats including mangroves, forests, woodlands and arid scrubland and is common in parks gardens in urban areas.
The Brown Honeyeater is a medium small bird with a grey brown back and a pale grey breast with dull yellow olive panels along the wings. Its only distinctive feature is a yellow tuft behind the eye. It has a long black curved bill well adapted for probing down deep tubular flowers.
Like all honeyeaters it feeds on nectar and insects foraging in flowering trees usually alone but often in small groups or with mixed flocks of other honeyeaters. All honeyeaters have highly developed brush tipped tongues, longer in some species than others, frayed and fringed with bristles which soak up liquids readily.
For a small plain bird it has a remarkably strong clear musical song described as the best of all the honeyeaters. The same breeding territory is occupied each year where a typical honeyeater nest cup is built on a thin branch in dense vegetation. The nest is vigorously defended. Two or three eggs are laid and the female incubates and rears the chicks alone but both parents feed the young.
The Brown Honeyeater is highly active and acrobatic.