Wild Birds

Melanesian Whistlers

Melanesian Whistlers

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The Melanesian Whistlers or New Caledonian Whistler (Pachycephala caledonica) is a species of passerine bird in the whistler family Pachycephalidae.

The species is part of the Golden Whistler superspecies and is often regarded as simply a subspecies of that species. Alternatively it may be closely related to the Golden Whistlers of Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands but not the larger Golden Whistler complex.


Distribution / Range

The species is endemic to New Caledonia, being found on Grande Terre and the Île des Pins. It inhabits humid forest, including degraded forest and forest edges, from sea level up to 1000 m. They are relatively common in suitable habitat, particularly below 300 m, and are not considered endangered by the IUCN. The species is sedentary.



The species is a medium sized whistler, around 14–16 cm in length and weighing 18-25 g.

The plumage of the male is dark slate-grey crown, face and nape, a white throat, yellow belly and rump and olive back and wings with a thin black line between the throat and belly.

The female is duller than the male with a buff belly and rump, no line between the throat and belly, and an olive-brown head, back and wings.

The legs of the male are dark brown, those of the female are lighter brown.


Diet / Feeding

The Melanesian Whistler feeds on insects, also taking snails and seeds. It feeds in thefoliage of trees and shrubs, and on the branches, presumably in a similar fashion to the closely related Golden Whistler.


Breeding / Nesting

The breeding season for this species is from December to January. A small nest (6 cm in diameter) is built out of sticks and spider web and suspended from small branches above the ground. Two eggs, which are white and blotched with brown, are laid and incubated by both parents.



  • BirdLife International 2004. Pachycephala caledonica. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 26 July 2007.
  • Del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. and Christie D. (editors). (2007). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 9788496553422


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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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