Bird likes to feed in canopy

UP HIGH: Mistletoebirds are not seen often due to their treetop habits.

UP HIGH: Mistletoebirds are not seen often due to their treetop habits.

Does the mistletoebird eat anything else apart from mistletoe berries?

F.R., Learmonth.

The mistletoebird feeds mostly on berries of mistletoes. However, it also samples berries and fruits of other trees and shrubs, as well as nectar and insects. Fruits of the introduced pepper-tree and boxthorn are eaten, as well as those of the native cherry ballart.

It feeds mostly in clumps of mistletoe in the canopies of trees, but also searches leaves and twigs of a variety of trees and shrubs for insects. Sometimes it forages on bare branches.

Chicks are fed on insects until they are older, when they are fed mistletoe berries. Nectar from trees such as eucalypts and bottlebrushes is also reportedly taken, but this seems to be unknown in the Ballarat region.

  • Questions and photos are welcome. Send to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353, or email to rthomas@vic.australis.com.au