Red-headed Honeyeaters-Myzomela erythrocephala are a small bird that likes to live in the mangrove area around Broome, but you can actually see them quite easily right in town itself if you know where to look. We have on a few occasions had them in our garden, but they are not a common visitor unlike the Brown Honeyeater, Singing Honeyeater, Rufous-throated Honeyeater and the occasional Black-chinned Honeyeater. When you are in Broome you can easily locate the old Streeter’s Jetty on Dampier Terrace at the end of Short Street, which was built in around 1897 and still stands today despite going completely under water during our big tides. Walking out along the jetty offers a variety of bird species, but the one species that most people seek out there is the Red-headed Honeyeater. It is incredibly hard to get good photographs as they feed among the mangrove trees, but we have also observed them drinking fresh water from the dripping air-conditioning pipe at the back of the buildings that back into the mangrove area next to the jetty. Now it is cooler the air-conditioning has been turned off, but we added a bottle of dripping fresh water for the Red-headed Honeyeaters recently to enable some close encounters of this delightful colourful bird. So if you think last week’s post was a bit “brown” maybe this will make up for it!

Red-headed Honeyeater landing on the fence

The next move was the Red-headed Honeyeaters checking the area where they normally access the dripping air-conditioner and before long several of them were on the ground drinking the fresh water that we supplied.

Honeyeaters gather for the fresh water

Red-headed Honeyeaters drinking fresh water from the concrete

It didn’t take more than a few minutes for the Red-headed Honeyeaters to work out exactly where the fresh water was coming from and one moved in to drink directly from the water bottle.

Red-headed Honeyeaters drinking from a water bottle

One thing we never buy is bottled water, because we are more than happy to drink tap water once we have let the gases evaporate. This water bottle was removed from a nearby rubbish bin and filled with tap water. A small hole was made at the far end, so it would drip slowly and not develop an air lock and the birds were more than appreciative of the supply of fresh water that day. If you are in Broome and you want to observe this beautiful species of honeyeater then it is only a short walk from the shops to Streeter’s Jetty to see Red-headed Honeyeaters.

Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!