- New Caledonian Myzomela
 - New Caledonian Myzomela
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New Caledonian Myzomela Myzomela caledonica Scientific name definitions

Peter J. Higgins, Les Christidis, and Hugh Ford
Version: 1.0 — Published March 4, 2020
Text last updated April 1, 2019

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Identification

10–12 cm; two males 7·5 and 8·2 g, two females 6·6 g and 6·9 g. Male is strikingly red, black and cream: head , neck and centre of upperbody deep scarlet, with black loral stripe extending in thin ring around eye, black scapulars and side of mantle and back and scattered black patches exposed throughout scarlet of upperbody (particularly on rump and uppertail-coverts); uppertail dull black; upperwing black, remiges slightly duller and with thin greyish-white to greyish-olive edges (diffuse panel on folded wing, much reduced with wear); red of head extends down to upper breast , dark grey patch at side and merging to diffuse red wash on lower breast, anterior flanks and side of belly, where increasingly mottled with grey; rest of underbody creamy white; undertail dark grey, underwing white with broad dark grey trailing edge and tip; iris dark brown; bill black; legs dark grey to dark grey-brown or brownish-green, soles yellow. Female is smaller than male, head and neck brownish-grey, slightly paler and greyer at sides and noticeably paler light grey-brown on chin and throat, usually with distinct reddish-brown forehead, anterior ear-coverts, malar area and chin and throat; upperbody brownish-grey, sometimes a few small reddish patches on uppertail-coverts; uppertail blackish-brown, all except central feather pair with narrow straw-yellow fringes, upperwing blackish-brown, brown marginal secondary coverts, fine light brown or cream fringes on median and greater coverts, fine straw-yellow edges of remiges (diffuse pale panel on folded wing); breast , flanks and belly light brown-grey, with olive-grey mottling on breast, merging to paler dirty white on centre of belly, vent and undertail-coverts; underwing and undertail as male; bare parts as male, but basal half (sometimes most) of lower mandible yellow, gape yellow. Juvenile is like female, but upperparts slightly warmer brown (except rump and uppertail-coverts noticeably paler brown), secondary coverts and tertials have slightly broader and richer buff-brown fringes, pale edges of remiges slightly brighter yellow, yellowish gape initially clearly swollen; immature male usually separable by contrasting mixture of adult-like scarlet-and-black plumage and brownish retained juvenile plumage (appearance somewhat between adult male and adult female), some very like adult male and probably inseparable in field.

Systematics History

Treated as conspecific with M. sanguinolenta by some authors (1), but differs in its (in male) whiter, less grey belly (1); lack of white fringes to wing-coverts (2); (in female) red wash on throat (1); and lower-pitched voice (minimum frequency 2800–3000 Hz vs 3500–4000 Hz) (3) and more emphatic song phrases (at least 1) (2). Monotypic.

Subspecies

Monotypic.

Distribution

New Caledonia, including I of Pines.

Habitat

Humid forest, including stunted forest on high slopes, and niaouli (Melaleuca leucadendron) savanna woodland; also forest edge and in modified habitats such as plantations and gardens. Lowlands and middle altitudes.

Movement

No information; apparently resident.

Diet and Foraging

Primarily nectar ; also small arthropods (insects). Forages in all types of flowering trees, including niaouli. Confiding and active, climbing among flowers.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Male song a series of short hurried phrases , each usually of 2–10 notes, e.g. a short dry rattle of identical double notes, “tchu-tchu—tchu-tchu— tchu-tchu…”, or “tch-tchwy-tchwy”. Contact call very short sharp high-pitched single “tsip” notes.

Breeding

Breeds Nov–Jan. Nest a tiny and rudimentary cup, made of fine twigs, rootlets and other plant fibres, usually or always unlined, internal diameter 4·5–5 cm, typically attached to branches by spider web, often high in tree. Clutch 2 eggs; said that parents share incubation and brood-feeding duties; no information on duration of incubation and nestling periods.

Not globally threatened. Restrictedrange species: present in New Caledonia EBA. No estimates of global abundance; variously considered common or rare. Widespread within tiny range.

Distribution of the New Caledonian Myzomela
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  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the New Caledonian Myzomela

Recommended Citation

Higgins, P. J., L. Christidis, and H. Ford (2020). New Caledonian Myzomela (Myzomela caledonica), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.necmyz1.01