Anthochaera is a genus of birds in the honeyeater family. The species are native to Australia and include the little wattlebird, the red wattlebird, the western wattlebird, and the yellow wattlebird. Recent evidence suggests the regent honeyeater belongs in this genus.[citation needed]

Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata.jpg
Red wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Meliphagidae
Genus: Anthochaera
Vigors & Horsfield, 1827

See text


Of the five species in the genus only the yellow wattlebird (Anthochaera paradoxa) and the red wattlebird (A. carunculata) have wattles.[1] These are bare fleshy appendages, usually wrinkled and often brightly coloured, hanging from the cheeks, neck or throat, and presumably serving for display.

A common name for species of the genus is wattlebird, a term also used for unrelated avian species.


The genus Anthochaera was described in 1827 by Nicholas Aylward Vigors and Thomas Horsfield.[2][3] The word Anthochaera is derived from the Greek anthos meaning flower or bloom and khairō meaning to enjoy.[4]

The regent honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia) was formerly placed in its own genus Xanthomyza but was moved to Anthochaera based on phylogenetic analysis using DNA sequence data.[5][6]

Species and distributionEdit

The genus Anthochaera contains the following species:[6]

Image Common name Scientific name Distribution
  Red wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata southeast Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and southwest Western Australia
  Little wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera coastal and sub-coastal south-eastern Australia
  Yellow wattlebird Anthochaera paradoxa Tasmania
  Western wattlebird Anthochaera lunulata south-western Australia.
  Regent honeyeater Anthochaera phrygia South Eastern Australia

A molecular phylogenetic analysis has shown that the genus Anthochaera is the sister group to the monotypic genus Acanthagenys containing the Spiny-cheeked honeyeater.[7]

Spiny-cheeked honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)

Little wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera)

Western wattlebird (Anthochaera lunulata)

Regent honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia)

Red wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata)

Yellow wattlebird (Anthochaera paradoxa)

Cladogram showing the relationship between the wattlebirds.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Higgins, P.; Christidis, L.; Ford, H.; Bonan, A. (2008). "Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)". In del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  2. ^ Vigors & Horsfield 1827, pp. 320-321.
  3. ^ Salomonsen 1967, pp. 444-445.
  4. ^ Jobling 2010, p. 49.
  5. ^ Driskell, A.C.; Christidis, L. (2004). "Phylogeny and evolution of the Australo-Papuan honeyeaters (Passeriformes, Meliphagidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 31 (3): 943–960. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2003.10.017. PMID 15120392.
  6. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Honeyeaters". World Bird List Version 5.4. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b Marki, P.Z.; Jønsson, K.A.; Irestedt, M.; Nguyen, J.M.; Rahbek, C.; Fjeldså, C. (2017). "Supermatrix phylogeny and biogeography of the Australasian Meliphagides radiation (Aves: Passeriformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 107: 516–529. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.12.021. hdl:10852/65203. PMID 28017855.


External linksEdit