August 13, 2016 – Bell Miner (Manorina melanophrys)

These small miners are found in the southeastern part of Australia. They feed almost entirely on the honeydew coverings some insects use to protect their larvae, known as bell lerps, which is where their common name originates. In addition to lerps, they also feed on insect larvae, some nectar, and manna, a crystallized sugary fluid generated by some plants when damaged. To maintain their food supply, they will defend the lerps in their territory from other birds. They live in colonies of between eight and 200 birds with complex social structures based around breeding pairs. Pairs usually mate for life, with females building the nests and incubating the eggs and both parents sharing all other nesting duties with between one and 20 helpers.

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