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Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata.jpg
Red wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Meliphagidae
Genus: Anthochaera
Vigors & Horsfield, 1827
Type species
Merops chrysopterus
Latham, 1801

See text

Anthochaera is a genus of birds in the honeyeater family. The species are native to Australia and include the little wattlebird, the red wattlebird, the western wattlebird, and the yellow wattlebird. A molecular phylogenetic study has shown that the regent honeyeater also belongs in this genus.


Of the five species in the genus only the yellow wattlebird (Anthochaera paradoxa) and the red wattlebird (A. carunculata) have wattles. These are bare fleshy appendages, usually wrinkled and often brightly coloured, hanging from the cheeks, neck or throat, and presumably serving for display.

A common name for species of the genus is wattlebird, a term also used for unrelated avian species.


The genus Anthochaera was described in 1827 by Nicholas Aylward Vigors and Thomas Horsfield. The type species was subsequently designated as the little wattlebird by the German ornithologist Hans Friedrich Gadow in 1884. The word Anthochaera is derived from the Greek anthos meaning flower or bloom and khairō meaning to enjoy.

The regent honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia) was formerly placed in its own genus Xanthomyza but was moved to Anthochaera based on phylogenetic analysis using DNA sequence data.

A molecular phylogenetic analysis has shown that the genus Anthochaera is the sister group to the monotypic genus Acanthagenys containing the spiny-cheeked honeyeater.

Spiny-cheeked honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)

Little wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera)

Western wattlebird (Anthochaera lunulata)

Regent honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia)

Red wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata)

Yellow wattlebird (Anthochaera paradoxa)

Cladogram showing the relationship between the wattlebirds.

Species and distribution

The genus Anthochaera contains the following species:

Image Common name Scientific name Distribution
Red wattlebird.jpg Red wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata southeast Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and southwest Western Australia
Anthochaera chrysoptera 4.jpg Little wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera coastal and sub-coastal south-eastern Australia
Anthochaera paradoxa.jpg Yellow wattlebird Anthochaera paradoxa Tasmania
Western Wattlebird 1.jpg Western wattlebird Anthochaera lunulata south-western Australia.
Regent honeyeater, Xanthomyza phrygia, Sydney, Australia. Not the best picture on a cloudy day with crappy camera, but quite a striking bird. (16445299203).jpg Regent honeyeater Anthochaera phrygia South Eastern Australia
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