Historical information

The Little Friarbird is a migrational bird, moving between northern Australia and the New South Wales/Victoria border in the spring and autumn times. It is primarily found near in forests and near water: rivers, wetlands. They eat nectar, bugs, fruit and seeds. They form monogamous pairs and nest close to water. They are not a threatened species.

The Little Friarbird has a brown head, back, wings and tail. Its chest is light brown. Its legs, beak and face are dark grey. It has bright blue patches on its cheeks under the eyes. This specimen does not accurately match how the Little Friarbird looks because the specimen has lost clumps of feathers on its chest, neck and face.

This specimen is part of a collection of almost 200 animal specimens that were originally acquired as skins from various institutions across Australia, including the Australian Museum in Sydney and the National Museum of Victoria (known as Museums Victoria since 1983), as well as individuals such as amateur anthropologist Reynell Eveleigh Johns between 1860-1880. These skins were then mounted by members of the Burke Museum Committee and put-on display in the formal space of the Museum’s original exhibition hall where they continue to be on display. This display of taxidermy mounts initially served to instruct visitors to the Burke Museum of the natural world around them, today it serves as an insight into the collecting habits of the 19th century.


This specimen is part of a significant and rare taxidermy mount collection in the Burke Museum. This collection is scientifically and culturally important for reminding us of how science continues to shape our understanding of the modern world. They demonstrate a capacity to hold evidence of how Australia’s fauna history existed in the past and are potentially important for future environmental research.

This collection continues to be on display in the Museum and has become a key part to interpreting the collecting habits of the 19th century

Physical description

This Little Friarbird has blue patches on its cheeks, brown head, back and tail. The front and neck are a light brown. Its back is grey. It has serious pest damage to the back of its neck, which has no feathers. Above its eyes shows early signs of pest damage. The front of the bird has ruffled patches of feathers. It stands on a dark wooden stand. It has an identification tag hanging from its left leg.

Inscriptions & markings

61a/ Blue faced Honey Eater / See catalogue page 19