Photo of the month: Black Honeyeater observed near Eaglehawk Waterhole

More typically encountered in the arid interior, it was a nice surprise to recently receive news of a sighting late last year (2019) of the Black Honeyeater in Geegeela Conservation Park, which is only a short distance from Eaglehawk Waterhole, NGT’s reserve near the SA/Victorian border in the Upper South East near Frances.

The story and images below are courtesy of Dennis Kuhlmann, an old colleague from my time working for the SA Government, who is now an accomplished nature photographer. Thanks Dennis!

Dennis said:

“The male was first noticed hovering over vegetation reminiscent of broom brush that grows in Geegeela and snapping up insects on the wing.

Male Black Honeyeater. Photo by Dennis Kuhlmann

A few days later the bird was noticed again doing the same thing. After a couple of encounters I decided to take a seat nearby and observe.

I then saw the male pass a beak full of insects to the female which delivered the haul to a chick in a small stick nest some 60 cm above the ground.

Female Black Honeyeater. Photo by Dennis Kuhlmann.

The female fed and shielded the chick from the direct sunlight as the day was quite warm.

Black Honeyeater nest in Geegeela Conservation Park. Photo by Dennis Kuhlmann.

I did not get back to Geegeela to see if the chick fledged; however, I have read that the species is subject to being parasitised by Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo of which there are also a small number in the neighbourhood. The single chick in the nest did make me wonder.

This is the first time I have seen the Black Honeyeater in Geegeela.”

Black Honyeater in Geegeela Conservation Park. Photo by Dennis Kuhlmann.

Mark Bachmann