White-eared honeyeater

Nesoptilotis leucotis

The white-eared honeyeater is a medium-sized honeyeater found in Australia. It is a member of the family Meliphagidae which has 190 recognised species with about half of them found in Australia. This makes them members of the most diverse family of birds in Australia. White-eared honeyeaters are easily identifiable by their olive-green body, black head and white ear-patch.
White-eared Honeyeater - Lichenostomus leucotis The White-eared Honey-eater is fairly solitary and records are usually of only one or two birds. It feeds less on nectar than most other honey-eaters, more often foraging for insects among leaves and bark of eucalypts. It has a loud and distinctive call that often attracts attention.

http://canberrabirds.org.au/our-birds/canberra-garden-birds/honeyeaters/white-eared-honeyeater/ Australia,Fall,Geotagged,Nesoptilotis leucotis,White-eared honeyeater

Appearance

The white-eared honeyeater has an olive-green upper and lower body; its wings and tail are a mix of brown, yellow and olive; the crown is dark grey with black streaks; its cheeks and throat are black; its ear-coverts are white. Its iris is red or brown ; its bill is black and its legs are dark grey. The white-eared honeyeater is a medium-sized honeyeater 19–22 centimetres in length. There is no sexual dimorphism, with males and females looking alike. They weigh approximately 20 g and have a beak length of approximately 17 mm .
White-eared Honeyeater  Australia,Geotagged,Nesoptilotis leucotis,Spring,White-eared honeyeater

Distribution

The white-eared honeyeater's preferred habitat is in forests, woodlands, heathlands, mallee and dry inland scrublands. A eucalyptus canopy, rough bark and a shrub layer are the most important requirements for white-eared honeyeaters. The canopy can provide nectar in spring, the bark can provide insects year round, and the shrub layer is used for nesting and shelter. The white-eared honeyeater prefers mature vegetation with a dense understory. They are relatively unselective regarding habitat, both floristically and structurally, as they can be found in many different forest and woodland types, and either edge or interior habitats. White-eared honeyeaters can be found in small woodland patches. Habitats they do not like are those that are heavily degraded, recently burnt, or have little to no understory.
White Eared Honeyeater.  Australia,Geotagged,Nesoptilotis leucotis,White-eared honeyeater

Status

Although the white-eared honeyeater has a decreasing population, it has an extensive distribution, and is considered to be of least concern on the IUCN Red List.
Threats to the white-eared honeyeater include habitat degradation, fire and loss of understory.
White-eared Honeyeater - Lichenostomus leucotis Habitat: 
The White-eared Honeyeater is found mainly in dry eucalypt forests and woodlands, with a well-developed understorey. They can also be found in a range of heath, shrubland and scrub habitats, and at a variety of altitudes, from the coast to the tree line in the Southern Alps, but are rarely found in tropical zone. They are not common in agricultural areas, but will be seen in gardens, orchards and vineyards in rural areas. In Sydney they forage in mangroves.

https://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Lichenostomus-leucotis Australia,Fall,Geotagged,Nesoptilotis leucotis,White-eared honeyeater

Behavior

White-eared honeyeaters are usually solitary, but may also be found in small family groups. They can be sedentary, nomadic or locally migratory.
White-eared honeyeater  Australia,Geotagged,Nesoptilotis leucotis,Spring,White-eared honeyeater

Habitat

The white-eared honeyeater's preferred habitat is in forests, woodlands, heathlands, mallee and dry inland scrublands. A eucalyptus canopy, rough bark and a shrub layer are the most important requirements for white-eared honeyeaters. The canopy can provide nectar in spring, the bark can provide insects year round, and the shrub layer is used for nesting and shelter. The white-eared honeyeater prefers mature vegetation with a dense understory. They are relatively unselective regarding habitat, both floristically and structurally, as they can be found in many different forest and woodland types, and either edge or interior habitats. White-eared honeyeaters can be found in small woodland patches. Habitats they do not like are those that are heavily degraded, recently burnt, or have little to no understory.

Reproduction

White-eared honeyeaters breed and nest from July to March. The nest is built among tangled twigs and leaves, low in a small shrub, bracken or coarse grass from 0.5 to 5 m high. The cup-shaped nest is constructed out of dry grass, fine stems, thin strips of bark and held together with cobwebs. The nest is lined with soft vegetation, down, feathers, hair, or fur. White-eared honeyeaters will pluck fur and hairs from livestock, humans, and native wildlife, such as kangaroos and wallabies.
White-eared honeyeaters form territories, which can expand during winter when some key resources are in lower densities. A clutch is typically 2 or 3 eggs. The eggs are oval shaped, white with brown speckles at the large end and measure 21 x 15mm. A clutch is typically 2 or 3 eggs. The parents are obligate cooperative breeders of their chicks.

The lifespan of the white-eared honeyeater is unknown; however, many species of Australian honeyeaters have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. It is likely that the white-eared honeyeater is somewhere in this range.

Food

White-eared honeyeaters feed on nectar and insects. They are often considered nectarivores, but feed on insects just as much. They feed on nectar during the spring and summer , but switch to insects for the rest of the year. White-eared honeyeaters actively probe for insects on tree trunks and branches. They prefer trees with soft, peeling and flaking bark, where insects may be present.
They mostly collect termites and spiders, but will also feed on the lerp and honeydew produced by insects. While foraging, the white-eared honeyeater searches intensively for its insect prey, averaging one insect every 5 seconds. This high-volume approach to foraging indicates that the insects being consumed are of low nutritional value.
Obligate nectarivores compete strongly with white-eared honeyeaters for the best nectar resources and obligate insectivores compete with white-eared honeyeaters for the best insect resources. This results in the white-eared honeyeater needing to use alternative sources of food, such as insects which are smaller or better at hiding.
The yellow-faced honeyeater has a similar feeding strategy to the white-eared honeyeater. Aggressive behaviour from the yellow-faced honeyeater directed at the white-eared honeyeater has been observed.

References:

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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyMeliphagidae
GenusNesoptilotis
SpeciesN. leucotis
Photographed in
Australia