The noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala ) is a bird in the honeyeater family, Meliphagidae, and is endemic to eastern and southeastern Australia. This miner is a grey bird, with a black head, orange-yellow beak and feet, a distinctive yellow patch behind the eye, and white tips on the tail feathers. The Tasmanian race has a more intense yellow panel in the wing, and a broader white tip to the tail. Males, females and juveniles are similar in appearance, though young birds are a brownish-grey. As the common name suggests, the noisy miner is a vocal species with a large range of songs, calls, scoldings and alarms, and almost constant vocalisations, particularly from young birds. One of four species in the genus Manorina, the noisy miner itself is divided into four subspecies. The separation of the Tasmanian M. m. leachi is of long standing, and the mainland birds were further split in 1999.Show More
Found in a broad arc from Far North Queensland through New South Wales and Victoria to Tasmania and southeastern South Australia, the noisy miner primarily inhabits dry, open eucalypt forests that lack understory shrubs. These include forests dominated by spotted gum, box and ironbark, as well as in degraded woodland where the understory has been cleared, such as recently burned areas, farming and grazing areas, roadside reserves, and suburban parks and gardens with trees and grass, but without dense shrubbery. The density of noisy miner populations has significantly increased in many locations across its range, particularly in human-dominated habitats. The popularity of nectar-producing garden plants, such as the large-flowered grevilleas, was thought to play a role in its proliferation, but studies now show that the noisy miner has benefited primarily from landscaping practices that create open areas dominated by eucalypts.
Noisy miners are gregarious and territorial; they forage, bathe, roost, breed and defend territory communally, forming colonies that can contain several hundred birds. Each bird has an 'activity space', and birds with overlapping activity spaces form associations called 'coteries', which are the most stable units within the colony. The birds also form temporary flocks called 'coalitions' for specific activities, such as mobbing a predator. Group cohesion is facilitated not only by vocalisations, but also through ritualised displays, which have been categorised as flight displays, postural displays, and facial displays. The noisy miner is a notably aggressive bird, so that chasing, pecking, fighting, scolding, and mobbing occur throughout the day, targeted at both intruders and colony members.
Foraging in the canopy of trees, on trunks and branches, and on the ground, the noisy miner mainly eats nectar, fruit, and insects. Most time is spent gleaning the foliage of eucalypts, and it can meet most of its nutritional needs from manna, honeydew, and lerp gathered from the foliage. The noisy miner does not use a stereotyped courtship display, but copulation is a frenzied communal event. It breeds all year long, building a deep cup-shaped nest and laying two to four eggs. Incubation is by the female only, although up to twenty male helpers take care of the nestlings and fledglings. Noisy miners have a range of strategies to increase their breeding success, including multiple broods and group mobbing of predators. The noisy miner's population increase has been correlated with the reduction of avian diversity in human-affected landscapes. Its territoriality means that translocation is unlikely to be a solution to its overabundance, and culling has been proposed, although the noisy miner is currently a protected species across Australia.Show Less
The Noisy miner is a large bird in the honeyeater family. It has a black head, orange-yellow beak and feet, a distinctive yellow patch behind the eye, and white tips on the tail feathers. Males, females, and juveniles are similar in appearance, though young birds are brownish-grey.
Noisy miners are native to eastern and southeastern Australia, occupying a broad arc from Far North Queensland to New South Wales where it is widespread and common from the coast to a line from Angledool to Balranald, through Victoria into southeastern South Australia, and eastern Tasmania. These birds don’t migrate and can be found in dry, open eucalypt forests that lack understory shrubs. These include forests dominated by spotted gum, box, and ironbark, as well as degraded woodland where the understory has been cleared, such as recently burned areas, farming and grazing areas, roadside reserves, and suburban parks and gardens with trees and grass, but without dense shrubbery.
Noisy miners are gregarious and territorial birds. They forage, bathe, roost, breed, and defend territory communally, forming colonies that can contain several hundred birds. Each bird has an 'activity space', and birds with overlapping activity spaces form associations called 'coteries', the most stable unit within the colony. Noisy miners also form temporary flocks called 'coalitions' for specific activities, such as mobbing a predator. Group cohesion is facilitated not only by vocalizations, but also through ritualized displays, which include flight displays, postural displays, and facial displays. Noisy miners are quite aggressive birds, chasing, pecking, fighting, scolding, and mobbing both intruders and colony members throughout the day. They are unusually vocal and have a large and varied repertoire of songs, calls, scoldings, and alarms. Most are loud and penetrating and consist of harsh single notes. Noisy miners feed by day both in trees and on the ground. They forage within the colony's territory throughout the year, usually in groups of 5 to 8 birds, although hundreds may gather at a stand of flowering trees, such as banksia.
Noisy miners are monogamous and form pairs; they breed communally and raise their chicks with ‘helpers’. Their breeding season lasts all year long, with most activity from July through November. Courtship displays can involve 'driving', where the male jumps or flies at the female from 1-2 meters (3.3-6.6 ft) away, and if she moves away he pursues her aggressively. The female may perform a 'bowed-wing display', where the wings and tail are spread and quivered, with the wings arched and the head pointing down. The male may adopt a vertical or horizontal 'eagle display', with wings and tail spread wide and held still for several seconds. Noisy miners prefer to nest in moderately dense foliage, often near the end of drooping horizontal branches. The female alone builds the nest, which is deep and cup-shaped, woven of twigs and grasses with other plant material, animal hair, and spider webs. It is lined with wool, hair, feathers, flowers, or plant down, and padded with a circular mat woven from fibers pulled from the cocoons of the processional caterpillar. The clutch consists of 2-4 eggs which are incubated by the female only for around 16 days. The chicks are naked at hatching and develop a cover of down within 2-3 days. The fledging period is around 16 days, and young begin to find food for themselves between 26 and 30 days after fledging but are still regularly fed by adults to 35 days. The young leave the nest before they are fully fledged, and are only able to fly downwards, and scramble up. They do not go far from the nest, return to it at night, and take some weeks to completely leave the nest. They seek out siblings if separated, and huddle together for up to 3 weeks after fledging.
This species is abundant throughout its significant range and doesn’t face any major threats at present.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Noisy miner total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are increasing.