Strong-billed Honeyeater Melithreptus validirostris


Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - A2bc+3c+4bc

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2022 Vulnerable A2bc+3c+4bc
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Medium
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 129,000
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 135000-270000, 165000 poor estimated 2020
Population trend Decreasing inferred -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 30-49 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 30-49 - - -
Number of subpopulations 1-3 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation 1-89 - - -

Population justification: Much uncertainty. The estimate used here is the product of three AOO measures (spanning 3,600-7,200 km2) from Newman et al. (2021), the smallest being the number of 2x2 km squares for which there are records, the latter being an arbitrary doubling of this value to account for incomplete survey effort of potentially suitable habitat. The density estimate used of 45 birds/km2 (range 18-88 birds/km2) was estimated by expert consultation (G.B. Baker unpublished in Newman et al. 2021). The population size is therefore placed between 135,000 and 270,000 mature individuals, with a best estimate of 165,000 (following Newman et al. 2021) .

Trend justification: In the last decade, reporting rates from available systematically collected 2-ha 20-min surveys, 500-m radius and 5-km area searches (BirdLife Australia 2020) declined by 72% (500-m) and 51% (5-km) in north-western Tasmania; by 38% (500-m) at Pyengana in north-eastern Tasmania; and, in south-eastern Tasmania, by 96% (2-ha) at Meehan Range. The reporting rate on kunanyi/Mount Wellington declined by 89% between 1976–1978 and 2014–2016 (Newman 2017). Data for an array of 2-ha surveys sites on the Wellington Range were inconclusive over 2014–2019 (Newman et al. 2021). A composite trend for those sites with sufficient data indicated that the species has decreased by 51% over the last decade (2009–2019). Given that similar trends are apparent at widely dispersed locations, but that there is some inconsistency, it is concluded that the population as a whole has declined by 30%–49% in the last decade (Newman et al. 2021). Given the ongoing threats of habitat loss, fire and drought (Newman et al. 2021), declines are feared to continue over the next three generations.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Australia N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Australia King Island
Australia Bruny Island
Australia Cradle Mountain
Australia Maria Island
Australia Central Flinders Island
Australia North-west Tasmanian Coast
Australia South-east Tasmania
Australia Robbins Passage and Boullanger Bay
Australia Ben Lomond
Australia Douglas-Apsley
Australia Melaleuca to Birchs Inlet

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Rural Gardens suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable resident
Forest Temperate major resident
Savanna Dry suitable resident
Shrubland Temperate suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 1240 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Wood & pulp plantations - Agro-industry plantations Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Species disturbance
Climate change & severe weather Droughts Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 7
Ecosystem degradation
Natural system modifications Fire & fire suppression - Increase in fire frequency/intensity Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Unknown Slow, Significant Declines Unknown
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Melithreptus validirostris. Downloaded from on 17/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 17/08/2022.