Black-headed honeyeater Melithreptus affinis, photographed by T. Waite.

Belongs within: Meliphagidae.

Melithreptus is a genus of honeyeaters found in Australia whose members feed by gleaning along branches and foliage, and nest communally (Schodde & Mason 1999).

Characters (from Schodde & Mason 1999): Back green; tail square; head dusky with white nuchal bar and spot of bare, coloured postorbital skin. Palatine shelf distinctively constricted; vomerine horns extended, divaricate; temporal fossae diffuse with vestigial postorbital processes and unusually elongate zygomatic processes; triple inter-orbital perforations present; lower mandible with tooth-like process fitting into deep depression in ventral ectethmoid plate, with jugal flanking ectethmoid plate.

<==Melithreptus Vieillot 1816B94
    |  i. s.: M. cyanotisSJ85
    |         M. laetior Gould 1875WS48 [=M. gularis laetiorM03; incl. M. gularis coongani Mathews 1912WS48]
    |--M. albogularis Gould 1848JT12, WS48
    |    |--M. a. albogularisM03 [=M. lunatus albogularisWS48; incl. M. lunatus subalbogularis Mathews 1912WS48]
    |    `--M. a. inopinatusM03
    `--+--+--M. affinisJT12
       |  `--M. lunatus (Vieillot 1802)JT12, WS48 [=Certhia lunataWS48]
       |       |--M. l. lunatusWS48
       |       |--M. l. chloropsis Gould 1848WS48
       |       `--M. l. whitlocki Mathews 1909WS48
       `--+--M. validirostrisJT12
          `--+--M. brevirostris (Vigors & Horsfield 1827)JT12, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
             |    |--M. b. brevirostrisM03
             |    |--M. b. magnirostrisM03
             |    |--M. b. pallidicepsM03
             |    `--M. b. wombeyiM03
             `--M. gularisJT12

Melithreptus brevirostris (Vigors & Horsfield 1827)JT12, WS48 [=Meliphaga brevirostrisWS48; incl. Melit. leucogenys Milligan 1903WS48, Melit. brevirostris leucogenysM03, Melit. atricapillus subleucogenys Mathews 1912WS48]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[M03] Morcombe, M. 2003. Field Guide to Australian Birds 2nd ed. Steve Parish Publishing.

Schodde, R., & I. J. Mason. 1999. The Directory of Australian Birds: Passerines. CSIRO.

[SJ85] Storr, G. M., & R. E. Johnstone. 1985. Field Guide to the Birds of Western Australia 2nd ed. Western Australian Museum: Perth (Australia).

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

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