Displays of Regent Honeyeaters and others

Subject: Displays of Regent Honeyeaters and others
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 14:35:06 -0812 (UTC)
Jim asked: whether similar head-bobbing/bowing and bill-clapping 
displays have been reported for other genera of honeyeaters; are 
Regent Honeyeaters and friarbirds closely related; and can I 
recommend any literature on the displays of Regents?

The last question is easiest to answer - no. There is very little published 
on honeyeater display behaviour at all, and only brief descriptions of 
the displays of Regents. Perhaps the best place to begin is Longmore. 
W. 1991. HONEYEATERS AND THEIR ALLIES. Angus & Robertson 
Sydney. Another recent description of several calls and their contexts 
was by Andrew Ley and Beth Williams in Australian Bird Watcher 15(8): 

I have little experience with friarbirds so I am unable to say whether 
they have similar displays, but wattlebirds certainly bow and bill-clap 
when breeding. In wattlebirds, the bill-clapping is probably an 
aggressive display and the bowing/head-bobbing associated with 
courtship and pair bonding. Perhaps the two are combined early in 
courtship when the male is in two minds about whether to attract or repel 
a potential mate from his territory. However, in Regents the bill-clapping 
appears to be an integral component of courtship/pair-bonding, along 
with the head-bobbing.

Within the Family Meliphagidae the wattlebirds and friarbirds, perhaps 
along with the Regent Honeyeater, certainly seem to share some 
behavioural and morphological similarities. However, I am unsure 
whether they are more closely related to each other than to other genera 
of Meliphagids. DNA studies currently underway at the Museum of 
Victoria should shed some light on this.

Peter Menkhorst  

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