Species information

This subspecies of the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater is found within a small portion of riparian and swamp forests in the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve to the east of Melbourne.

These birds are striking, with yellow, black and olive plumage and a distinctive tuft of feathers on their forehead. They rely on a diet of arthropods and nectar, manna and honeydew. Social groups are made up of a number of adult pairs, who occupy adjacent sites and work cooperatively to defend sites.

In 1971 this species was proclaimed as one of Victoria's State Faunal Emblems and has been the focus of sustained recovery efforts.

Landholders, community groups and government have been working to help save this species since the 1980s.

Helmeted Honeyeater

Threats

As numbers of Helmeted Honeyeaters decline, the loss of genetic diversity is emerging as one of the greatest threats.

Alongside this, the small remnant patches of habitat they inhabit within Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve are continuing to suffer a decline in quality. Changes to the natural hydrology of the area, primarily due to the need for irrigation for surrounding farming areas, has meant that the natural flood cycles do not occur. The decrease, and in some instances increase, of surface water has caused die back of trees. Alongside this, they are faced with competition from other birds and predation from feral species.

What's being done?

The population is monitored closely, and supplementary feeding takes place year-round through the volunteers of Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater. This group is heavily involved in a range of recovery efforts including working with private landholders to protect or enhance potential habitat, field monitoring and education.

Efforts to save the species are being supported by a $200,000 grant through the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity On-Ground Action Icon Species Grants program.

This is contributing to:

  • Close monitoring of the small remaining population to identify any population challenges, determine breeding success and monitor captive bred birds post release
  • The release of captive bred birds back into the wild
  • Maintenance of infrastructure within Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve to assist those performing recovery efforts and protect habitat
  • Maintaining community awareness of the recovery efforts

The Victorian Government has provided additional support through the Caring for Our Environment - Faunal Emblems Program. This program is providing $3,000,000 over two years to help Helmeted Honeyeaters and Leadbeater’s Possums (highland and lowland). This funding has been provided to a suite of partners to assist the survival of these species.

Actions include:

  • Habitat protection and restoration
  • Species monitoring
  • Genetic research
  • Pest species control
  • Disease and health assessments

Who's helping?

Page last updated: 28/10/19