Mistletoebird

February 21, 2017 – Mistletoebird, Australian Flowerpecker, Mistle Flowerpecker, Mistletoe Flowerpecker, Australian Flower Swallow, or Wallacean Flowerpecker (Dicaeum hirundinaceum)

The only flowerpecker species in Australia, these birds are found throughout most of the country, as well as in Papua New Guinea and eastern Indonesia. They can enter a state of torpor during cold weather, slowing down their metabolism to save energy. Specially adapted to a diet of mistletoe berries, they have simple digestive systems, which allow the sticky seeds to pass through quickly and be deposited onto branches. This helps spread the partially parasitic plants, maintaining the birds’ food supply. They also capture insects, mostly to feed to their chicks. Females build the pear-shaped hanging nests from plant down and spiderweb and incubate the eggs alone. Both parents feed the chicks.

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