Displays of the Honeyeater Manorina melanocephala


Author's address: Douglas D. Dow, Department of Zoology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 4067.


Investigated displays of Noisy Miners, Manorina melanocephala, in Australia. This unusual bird lives in colonies and many ♂♂ care for the offspring of each ♀ flight displays, 11 non-flight displays, and several components of facial displays (including a variable eye patch) are described. The eye patch provides a large yellow and black augmented eye, important in intimidation. No stereotyped sequence of courtship behaviour precedes copulation. Displays are used to advertise nest locations. A greeting display, the corrohoree, is extremely common.

The possibility of the evolution of submissive display from threat is discussed. Special vocalisations of ♂♂ and ♀♀ are use in a duet. The maintenance of bonds among many individuals in a colony may be more important than strong pair bonds. Group cohesion is probably maintained by flight display, nest display, mobbing, and other communal activities.

High interspecific aggression results in few resident species in colonies. This level of interspecific aggression might be maintained by incorporating much intraspecific mimetic display and ritualised submissive behaviour.