White-bellied Honeyeater or Vanuatu Honeyeater
Glycifohia notabilis

Passeriformes Order – Meliphagidae Family

The White-bellied Honeyeater is endemic to Vanuatu Islands where it frequents the primary forest and a variety of other wooded habitats.
It typically feeds on nectar and pollen, but also takes insects and spiders. It is always very active and noisy while foraging.
The White-bellied Honeyeater is widespread and common throughout its restricted range, and the species is not currently threatened.

Length: 18-22 cm
Weight: 23-30 g

The White-bellied Honeyeater of nominate race has brown to rufous-brown hindneck and upperparts. Upperwings and tail are brown to olive-brown. On the upperwings, the coverts are finely edged rufous-brown, whereas the flight-feathers show brown to rufous-brown outer edges.
The underparts including chin and throat are white with sparse fine brownish to dusky streaks on breast, belly and flanks. Vent and undertail-coverts are mottled or washed pale brownish. The undertail feathers are grey-brown. The underwing is pale rufous-brown with greyish-brown trailing edge and tip.   

On the head, top and head sides are black. On the forehead, we can see a fine white speckling less conspicuous on crown, and becoming a bolder white barring towards the sides of the crown. A conspicuous black-speckled white supercilium extends well behind the eye to the upper neck side. The malar area is flecked with white, like ear-coverts and brownish neck sides. The blackish eyestripe is indistinct.
The bill is black. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are blue-grey.
Male and female have similar plumage, but the female is smaller than male.

The juvenile resembles adult but it is duller, with creamy-white supercilium. It has yellow wash on ear-coverts, chin, throat and belly, with only some indistinct dusky streaks on lower throat and upper breast.

The White-bellied Honeyeater has two subspecies.
G.n. notabilis (described above) occurs on banks Islands (Ureparapara and Vanua Lava), Espiritu Santo and Ambae in N and C Vanuatu.
G.n. superciliaris is found in C Vanuatu, on Maewo, Pentecost, Malakula, Ambrym, Panama and Epi.
This race has more white on supercilium, better defined black eyestripe and barring on crown. The upperparts may appear slightly browner.   

The White-bellied Honeyeater frequents primary forest and tall secondary growths, both in hills and mountains. It may sometimes frequent the lowland forests, and occasionally mangroves.
The species is visible from sea-level to 1,250 metres of elevation, but it is commoner between 450 and 850 metres.  

The White-bellied Honeyeater is very vocal and has varied repertoire. The main call is a loud, fluty “tyau” given at dawn. The alarm call is a harsh “tchea”. We can also hear a prolonged “toowyt” and a plaintive “teewee”.
The song is a rich series of melodious fluty notes and whistles “teewee-twytwyttee or “teewee-teeeeee”.  

The White-bellied Honeyeater feeds on nectar and pollen but it also takes insects, spiders and some fruits.
It forages in the canopy, but it also descends to the understorey. It gleans and probes among foliage and flowers, searching for nectar and arthropods. Flying insects are caught by short sallies from perches.
It is very active, moving from flower to flower where it probes quickly with its well-adapted long, decurved bill.
It can be seen alone or in pairs, and it may form small groups of 12-15 individuals.

The honeyeaters are usually socially monogamous. But more information on this species is required.
The White-bellied Honeyeater is resident. It performs some local and altitudinal movements.

The breeding season takes place between September and January.
The female lays two pale eggs in the cup-shaped nest.

The White-bellied Honeyeater has restricted range but it is widespread and common on Vanuatu Islands, especially in mountain areas.
The species is not globally threatened and currently evaluated as Least Concern.  
Fr: Méliphage des Nouvelles-Hébrides
Ang: White-bellied Honeyeater
All: Weißbauch-Honigfresser
Esp: Mielero Ventriblanco
Ita: Succiamiele delle New Hebrides
Nd: Svartkronehonningeter
Sd: svartkronad honungsfågel

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 13 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliot-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions – ISBN: 9788496553453

Birds of Melanesia: Bismarcks, Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia Par Guy Dutson – Editeur : Bloomsbury Publishing, 2011 – ISBN: 1408152460, 9781408152461
Avibase (Denis Lepage)

Birdlife International

HBW Alive

Wikipedia – Honeyeaters



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