The Mistletoe Bird is found throughout mainland Australia wherever the parasite mistletoe plant grows on trees. However, the Mistletoe Bird is seldom seen, as it is so small and fast, and usually inhabits the high canopy of woodlands. Although it also eats nectar, pollen, and insects, its main food is the fruit of mistletoe, to which it is particularly well adapted.
This bird lacks the food grinding organ, the gizzard, which other birds possess. Mistletoe seeds can pass through the bird almost intact, ready to stick to the branch of a tree and germinate. It creates a soft, felt-like nest that looks like a baby’s bootie, suspended from a thin branch. 2 to 3 hatchlings fly from the nest at 15 days old.
Size: 10 - 11 cm
Photo and Illustration: Mark Trinham.