Photo: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey
Mistletoebird, Dicaeum hirundinaceum
The male mistletoe bird is black and white with a magnificent red patches on the chest and rump, while the female is much duller.
They have a fine curved bill and split tongue, family adaptations to feeding on nectar (Pizzey et al 2003).
However, as suggested by the common name, they are better known for their feeding on the fruits of the mistletoes. They shunt the small fleshy fruits through their digestive system in as little as 20 minutes. The seeds are often still very sticky, and often hang out in beads from the birdís rear.
Upon landing they then often have to wipe their bottom on a branch to get rid of the sticky seeds. This disperses the mistletoe seed and allows the parasitic mistletoe to germinate in the canopy.
Script: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey BSc.(Zool) Biologist Guide