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Manorina melanophrys

Bell miner (Manorina melanophrys)

Manorina melanophrys

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Parvordo: Corvida
Superfamilia: Meliphagoidea
Familia: Meliphagidae
Genus: Manorina
Species: Manorina melanophrys

Name

Manorina melanophrys (Latham, 1802)

Vernacular names

Bell Miner

Reference

Supplementum indicis ornithologici p.xlii

The Bell Miner, Manorina melanophrys, colloquially known as the Bellbird, is a colonial honeyeater endemic to southeastern Australia. They were given their common name because they feed almost exclusively on the dome-like coverings of certain psyllid bugs, referred to as "bell lerps," that feed on eucalyptus sap from the leaves. The "bell lerps" make these domes from their own honeydew secretions in order to protect themselves from predators and the environment. They are also very likely to be named after their bell-like call.

Bell miners live in large, complex social groups. Within each group there are subgroups consisting of several breeding pairs, but also including a number of birds who are not currently breeding. The nonbreeders help in providing food for the young in all the nests in the subgroup, even though they are not necessarily closely related to them[2]. The birds defend their colony area communally aggressively, excluding most other passerine species. They do this in order to protect their territory from other insect-eating birds that would eat the bell lerps on which they feed. Whenever the local forests die back due to increased lerp psyllid infestations, bell miners undergo a population boom.

In some Aboriginal tribes the Bell miner is considered a special delicacy which is highly valued. The Bell Miner is ritually sacrificed by having the head removed and pickled or embalmed while the body or "Peese" (Pronounced "piece") is eaten after being skinned. After being pickled the head is used in native medicines.

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License