Mistletoebird

Dicaeum hirundinaceum

The Mistletoebird is found throughout mainland Australia wherever mistletoe grows. The bird ensures a constant supply of its food with its simple digestive system.  It digests the fleshy outer parts of the mistletoe berries, and excretes the sticky seeds onto branches. The seed germinate quickly into a new plant, thus ensuring a continued supply of food, as well as playing an important role in the dispersal of this plant species.

The Mistletoebird is nomadic, apart from the breeding season when the female builds a silky, pear-shaped nest with a slit-like entrance, made from matted plant down and spider web, which is suspended from a twig in the outer foliage of a tree. The female incubate the eggs, once hatched the male helps the female feed the young.  At this stage they will also catch insects, mainly to provide food for their young.

Australia is home to 97 species of native Australian mistletoe, and in addition to forests and woodlands, they can also be found in deserts and heathlands, as well as urban and agricultural areas. Australian mistletoes can boost wildlife populations in agricultural landscapes, by providing animals with food, shelter and nutrient-rich leaf litter.