birding-aus Colour-changes in Regent

Subject: birding-aus Colour-changes in Regent
From: "David Geering"<>
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 14:29:53 +1000
 Anthea wrote: "I have seen a suggestion that the facial wattle round the
Regent Honeyeater's eye varies in colour - blushing bright red at emotional
moments, such as nest change-over, from pink in breeding pairs.  It is
paler and yellower in nonbreeding and immature birds."

This is something that I often hear or see written.  I remain far from
convinced that these changes are as marked, or even occur, as is generally

Firstly, I can confidently say that the colour does not blush bright red as
a result of stress or "emotion" as does, for example, the wattles of the
Jacana.  Unfortunately Anthea picked a bad example in nest change-over as
the male Regent Honeyeater (like many honeyeaters) does not share in nest
duties.  Nevertheless, I have many hours of experience with breeding
Regents and have yet to see a change in face colour.  I have also handled
over 300 Regent Honeyeaters for banding and noted facial colour in many
birds - all were as they would be described in the field and so did not
change as a result of this "stress".  I have given up noting facial colour
as I saw no evidence of a change in colour either between the breeding and
non-breeding season or as a result of external stimuli.

I think the facial colour as shown by Slater in his field is misleading as
people expect to see a red face.  Some beginners have expressed doubt to me
that the bird they saw was in fact a Regent Honeyeater as the face wasn't
red as depicted in the guide.

Having said all that I have seen the (very) occasional bird in the hand
that has had a small patch of red/purple of the facial area.  This often
consists of just a wart or two.  Overall though this would not be
detectable other than in the hand and the overall impression is of a
yellowish face.

I would be happy to hear from anyone who has conclusively seen a
"red-faced" Regent Honeyeater.

David Geering

To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU