The bell miner, Manorina melanophrys, is a native honeyeater, endemic to eastern Australia. Like the noisy miner, Manorina melanocephala, bell miners defend a territory year-round from other bird species, particularly the eucalypt canopy where they spend most of their time feeding. Unlike the noisy miner, bell miners prefer a thick understorey of any plant species for nesting. Due to their nesting and foraging behaviour, this species has been implicated as the cause of eucalypt dieback. However, as this species is opportunistic and will nest in exotic plant species such as Lantana camara, it is now thought that its presence is a symptom of dieback and forest disturbance where an increase of their food source, namely herbivorous insects, has occurred. Little is known, however, about how or why a bell miner colony chooses a particular site for colonisation and whether they claim a site after insect numbers have increased and the trees are already showing signs of stress long before tree death occurs.
In order to determine this, we need more information on the location of colonies, their habitat in terms of understorey plants and any information on how long a colony has been in the area. Therefore, a project has been started for everyone to report the location of colonies and other information that can be provided.
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