Zoos Victoria

Join Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater and get involved in tree planting to help wild birds

Act Now for the honeyeater

What else can you do?

  • Convince your friends and colleagues to make the switch to recycled toilet paper
  • Take it further than the toilet-make sure your paper and timber products come from well managed and sustainably harvested forests
  • Get creative to spread the word about Helmeted Honeyeaters. Mashup your own video here

The Helmeted Honeyeater is the only bird species found exclusively in Victoria and also happens to be Victoria's state bird emblem.

They are the largest and most brightly coloured of the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater subspecies with a distinctive helmet of golden plushlike feathers on their heads.

There are currently three small wild populations established in remnant streamside swamp forest east of Melbourne. One is in Yellingbo Conservation Reserve and 2 populations have been recently established in Bunyip State Park. The honeyeaters are given some supplementary nectar at all 3 sites.

Healesville Sanctuary established a captive breeding program in 1989 and release captive-bred birds to the wild sites every year in early Autumn

  • Helmeted Honeyeaters live only in Victoria in dense stream-side vegetation at low altitudes (20 -120 m above sea level). Very little of this suitable habitat is remaining.
  • They feed on invertebrates, lerps (insect larvae covers), honeydew, manna, nectar and sap.
  • They are a subspecies of the more common Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
  • They use spider webs to line their nests and bind the nest materials together
  • The recovery program started in 1989 when the wild population dropped to just 50 birds.
  • There are currently around 80 birds in the wild across the 3 sites
  • In 2013 Healesville Sanctuary started predator avoidance training for our captive-bred birds. This has led to a much higher survival rate for those birds released to the wild

The main threat to the Helmeted Honeyeater is its small population size and confinement to small isolated areas. This makes them very vulnerable to bushfires or severe drought which could wipe out the entire wild population.

Other threats include:
  • Habitat degradation due to tree die-back and drying out of the swampy habitat
  • Competition with Bell Miners for habitat and breeding territories
  • Predation by feral and native animals

At our Zoos...

  • Healesville Sanctuary

In the Wild...

  • Bunyip State Park
  • Yellingbo Conservation Reserve