The Little Wattlebird (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. It was formerly lumped with the Western Wattlebird, which is restricted to Western Australia.
The species was originally described by ornithologist John Latham in 1802. Its specific name is derived from the Ancient Greek chryso "golden", and pteron "wing(ed)". The Western Wattlebird (A. lunulata) was considered a subspecies until recently.
The Little Wattlebird is a medium to large large honeyeater, but the smallest wattlebird. The appearance is similar to the Yellow Wattlebird and 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
The Little Wattlebird is found in Banksia/Eucalypt woodlands, heathlands, tea-tree scrub, sandplain-heaths, lantana thickets, wild tobacco, parks and gardens.
Calls include a strident cookay-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 in colour. The female incubates the eggs alone. Both sexes care for young chicks.
Feeding on a flowering Corymbia ficifolia
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.