Wild Birds

Little Wattlebirds

Little Wattlebirds (Anthochaera chrysoptera)

The Little Wattlebirds (Anthochaera chrysoptera), also known as the Brush Wattlebird, is a honeyeater, a passerine bird in the family Meliphagidae.

It is found in coastal and sub-coastal south-eastern Australia.

Little Wattlebirds Close up Image
Little Wattlebirds Close up Image


The species was originally described by ornithologist John Latham in 1802. Its specific name is derived from the Ancient Greek chryso “golden”, andpteron “wing(ed)”. The Western Wattlebird (A. lunulata) was considered a subspecies until recently.

Little Wattlebirds Perched Amongst Banksia Flowers
Little Wattlebirds Perched Amongst Banksia Flowers


The Little Wattlebird is a medium to large honeyeater, but the smallest wattlebird. The appearance is similar to the Yellow Wattlebirdand the Red Wattlebird. The Little Wattlebird lacks the wattles which characterise the wattlebirds.

Juveniles are duller with less streaking and have a browner eye.

Distribution and Habitat Behaviour 

The Little Wattlebird is found in Banksia/Eucalypt woodlands, heathlands, tea-tree scrub, sandplain heaths, lantana thickets, wild tobacco, parks, and gardens.

Yellow Little Wattlebirds Resting On A Tree Branch
Yellow Little Wattlebirds Resting On A Tree Branch


Calls include a strident cookie-cok, a raucous fetch the gun, a mellow guttural yekkop, yekkop, and many squeaky, musical lilting notes. The alarm call is a kwock or shnairt!


Breeding takes place from June to December. The female wattlebird generally constructs the nest, a loose, untidy cup of twigs lined with shredded bark and placed from 1 to 10m high in the fork of a banksia, tea tree, or eucalypt sapling. 1-2 eggs are laid and may be spotted red-brown, purplish red, or salmon-pink. The female incubates the eggs alone. Both sexes care for young chicks.


Little wattlebirds feed on nectar obtained with a long, brush-tipped toungue, adapted for probing deep into flowers. They also feed on insects, berries, and some seeds. Most feeding is done perched, but some insects are caught in mid-air. Birds may feed alone or in groups.

An Australian Little Wattlebirds Perched On A Wooden Fence
An Australian Little Wattlebirds Perched On A Wooden Fence


  1. BirdLife International (2005). Anthochaera chrysoptera. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 5 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  2. Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-910207-4.
  3. Pizzey, Graham; Knight, Frank (1997).Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Sydney, Australia: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 111. ISBN 0 207 18013 X.
  4. Backyard Birdwatch – Red Wattlebird

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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