Bismarck Honeyeater Vosea whitemanensis


Justification of Red List category
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is thought to have a relatively small population which is undergoing a slow decline as a result of deforestation, in particular driven by expansion of oil palm plantations.

Population justification
Buchanan et al. (in press) estimated the population at 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Buchanan et al. (2008) calculated the rate of forest loss within the species's range on New Britain as 5.7% over three generations.

Distribution and population

This species is endemic to the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea where it is widespread at high altitudes, although usually uncommon (Dutson 2011). Although most forest loss has been in the lowlands, it is still thought to have declined in recent years (Buchanan et al. 2008).


It inhabits montane forest from 1,200-1,800 m, occasionally down to 850 m (Dutson 2011). Its tolerance of habitat degradation is poorly known.


On New Britain, lowland forest clearance for conversion to oil palm plantations has been intense in recent decades and the island accounts for approximately half of Papua New Guinea's timber exports. Although most deforestation has been in the lowlands, it is thought that this species's habitat is now being cleared, albeit slowly (Buchanan et al. 2008).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Identify and effectively protect a network of reserves, including some containing large areas of montane forest and some large community-based conservation areas. Continue to monitor trends in forest loss. Research its tolerance of degraded forest. Monitor populations in a number of primary forest and degraded forest sites on the island.


22.5cm. A moderately large drab-coloured honeyeater with a long curved bill (c1.5 times length of head). It has a narrow area of bare skin is behind the eye and a mustard-olive wing area on the wing. Voice Song is a series of 3-8 soft, mellow whistled pairs of notes delivered at about one pair per 0.7 seconds. The first note is simple and the second trilled or uneven, slightly down-slurred and at a lower pitch recalling M. fuscus.


Text account compilers
Khwaja, N., Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Vosea whitemanensis. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/bismarck-honeyeater-vosea-whitemanensis on 01/03/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org on 01/03/2024.