A relatively versatile feeder (12), the singing honeyeater primarily feeds on nectar (5), but also eats fruit and a range of invertebrates (2) (3) (5) (12), including insects, spiders and molluscs (2). Interestingly, this species is known to rub bees against a hard surface before swallowing them, although the reasons for this are unclear. On occasion, the singing honeyeater has been recorded taking the eggs and nestlings of certain Taeniopygia finches (2).
This active and conspicuous species usually forages alone (2), but may sometimes feed in pairs or in loose flocks of four to six individuals (2) (3). Such flocks usually contain family members (2). Feeding at lower levels than most other honeyeater species (3), the singing honeyeater generally feeds in low shrubs or on the ground (2) (3), probing at flowers for nectar (2). Its invertebrate prey is usually gleaned from foliage, branches and tree trunks (2) (12), or caught by flying out from a perch to catch it in the air or on the ground (2).
The singing honeyeater may breed in all months of the year, although most breeding occurs between mid-August and late November (2), particularly in coastal areas (5). A monogamous species, the singing honeyeater sometimes forms long-term bonds with its partner (3).
The nest is an open cup created from woven grasses and leaves, occasionally with additional flowers and bark (2), and bound with wool or spider web (2) (3). It is usually lined with wool, roots, fur (2) (3) (5) and occasionally with plant down or fine grasses (2). Oddly, the singing honeyeater’s nest tends to be a flimsy structure in the eastern parts of its range, but quite substantial in the more western regions. The nest is usually suspended from a fork in a tree or from small twigs in a low, thorny shrub, at an average of two metres above the ground (2).
The female singing honeyeater lays a clutch of between one and three eggs (2) (3), although two is most common, and the eggs are thought to be incubated by the female alone (2) (3) (5). The eggs are a pallid, pinky-yellow colour marked with rusty spots (5), and are incubated for a period of between 12 and 14 days (2), with the chicks remaining in the nest for a further 13 days or so (3) (5). While the male singing honeyeater is not involved in the incubation of the eggs, it does assist with feeding and raising the young (2) (3) (5). Singing honeyeater nests are often parasitised by the pallid cuckoo (Cuculus pallidus) (2) (3).