With its prettily patterned breast, the regent honeyeater is striking and distinctive. Its head is black with a cream eye-patch, the upper breast is black, flowing to speckled black, and its lower breast is pale lemon. Wings and tail feathers are tipped with bright yellow. The birds grow to about 20cm long with a wingspan of 30cm. Females are similar to males, though slightly smaller. In the past, flocks of several hundred were common, but now flock numbers are typically less than 20.
Once found from Queensland to South Australia, the bird is now only seen in Victoria and NSW where it is listed as critically endangered. It favours inland temperate forests and woodlands, particularly box-ironbark woodlands. Habitat reduction has had a major impact on the species and efforts are being made to stem this.
Regent honeyeaters feed on nectar from a wide variety of eucalypts (Mugga ironbark, yellow box, white box and swamp mahogany to name a few) and mistletoe. They occasionally eat insects, especially when young.
Regent honeyeaters mate in pairs and lay 2-3 eggs in a cup-shaped nest made of bark, twigs, grass and wool by the female. The nest is located 1-20m off the ground on horizontal branches or forks, or in mistletoe. The female incubates the eggs for a fortnight while the male guards the nest. After hatching, the nestlings are fed by both parents for the next 16 days. On leaving the nest, fledglings are completely independent within two weeks.