Animals

Flowerpeckers

by Marcia Malory

Flowerpecker, scientifically known as Dicaeidaeare a family of nectar-eating passerines.

They are closely related to sunbirds (Nectariniidae).

Flowerpeckers are small birds. The pygmy flowerpecker is only 10 centimeters (4 inches) long and weighs only about 5.7 grams (about one fifth of an ounce).

In addition to nectar, flowerpeckers eat insects, spiders and berries, including mistletoe.

Mistletoebird, also known as the Australian flowerpecker; photo by AvicedaFlowerpeckers live in the tropics of southern Asia, Australia and the western Pacific.

The Cebu flowerpecker, which is native to Cebu Island in the Philippines, is a critically endangered species.

The spectacled flowerpecker is a species of flowerpecker that was identified for the first time in 2009. It lives in Borneo.

Mistletoebird

The mistletoebird, also known as the Australian flowerpecker, gets its name from its primary food source - mistletoe berries. It also eats nectar and small insects that can be found around flower blossoms.

The male mistletoe bird has a bright red throat and chest. It is also red on the underside of its tail. Its head, wings and the upper part of its body is blue black. The female is gray on top and white underneath. Her belly has a gray streak and her undertail is a paler red than the male's undertail.

Although mistletoebirds feed on low berry bushes, they spend a large portion of their time in the tops of trees, where their nests are located.

The female mistletoe bird builds the nest by herself. The nest is made from plant fibers and strengthened with cobwebs. It is pear shaped, has a slit for an opening at the top and hangs from a twig.

Both sexes care for the young.

Mistletoebirds are sometimes considered pests because they spread mistletoe seeds in their feces. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that attaches itself to a host tree from which it obtains water and nutrients. It can kill the host tree.