Noisy Miner

The Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala is the best known Honeyeater in the eastern states of Australia. It is common in suburban gardens, parks, golf courses, particularly if near large trees. They can always be seen at Urrbrae Wetland where they have bred frequently in recent years.

The Noisy Miner is easily distinguished from the other three Miner species by its black crown and cheeks, and white forehead. The name Miner may have originated from this bird's ability to fluff-up the feathers surrounding its bright yellow eye patch, giving a formidable “wide-eyed” glare. This reminded the early settlers of a British coalminer's black face with goggles!

This largish grey honeyeater (the sexes similar in plumage) feeds mainly in foliage, searching for insects, small invertebrates and nectar, probing in tree bark, or hunting on the ground for suitable titbits. The Noisy Miner is regarded as a pest in some orchard areas, often damaging ripe fruit.

They live in colonies and have a complete social organisation within their chosen territory, becoming extremely aggressive to other birds intruding and uniting noisily to mob predators, both feathered and furred. Miners are often seen in communal activities — feeding, bathing, sleeping or just in noisy group displays!

Noisy Miners breed from June to December. The nest is a flimsy cup of twigs, spider web, grass and leaves, commonly in the fork of a leafy branch between one half and 20 metres high. Only the female builds the nest, but males occasionally carry materials. 2-4 eggs are laid. Up to 10 males may visit the nest once the eggs have been laid, and 24 males have been observed helping with a newly hatched brood.