Mistletoebird

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Image:Mistletoebird.JPG

Common Name: Mistletoebird
Scientific Name: Dicaeum hirundinaceum

Size: 4-4 ½ inches (10-11 cm)

Habitat: Australasia; found throughout mainland Australia. It is also found in Papua New Guinea and eastern Indonesia. The Mistletoebird is found wherever mistletoe grows and is important in the dispersal of this plant species

Status: Least Concern. Global population: Unknown.

Diet: Mistletoe berries. The Mistletoebird is highly adapted to its diet of mistletoe berries. It lacks the muscular gizzard (food-grinding organ) of other birds, instead having a simple digestive system through which the berries pass quickly, digesting the fleshy outer parts and excreting the sticky seeds onto branches. The seed can then germinate quickly into a new plant. In this way, the Mistletoebird ensures a constant supply of its main food. It will also catch insects, mainly to provide food for its young.

Nesting: The Mistletoebird builds a silky, pear-shaped nest with a slit-like entrance, made from matted plant down and spider web, which is suspended from a twig in the outer foliage of a tree. The female alone builds the nest and incubates the eggs, while both sexes feed the young.

Cool Facts: In cold weather, the Mistletoebird can undergo torpor, which is the slowing down of bodily functions to conserve energy.


Found in Songbird ReMix Australia Volume II

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