Meliphagidae


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Meliphagidae

 

(honey eaters), a family of birds of the order Passeriformes. The body length measures 10-32 cm. The tip of the tongue has a special brush permitting the birds to suck the nectar from flowers. In body type and habits the Meliphagidae are extremely diverse and resemble warblers, titmice, nuthatches, jays, and jackdaws. The coloration is usually drab shades of brown or green.

The family comprises 167 species, which are distributed in Australia, in New Zealand, in New Guinea, on the Hawaiian Islands, and on the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia; one species inhabits southern Africa. The Meliphagidae are primarily tree and shrub dwellers. The nests are in trees or, sometimes, on high hummocks; the clutch contains one to four eggs. The birds feed primarily on nectar, flower pollen, and insects; sometimes they eat berries and small fruits. The Meliphagidae are of great importance for pollinating plants; however, some species are pests.

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