The forty-spotted pardalote forages almost exclusively in the foliage of white gum trees, hence its dependency on this eucalypt’s availability (2). It feeds by gleaning invertebrates, from the relatively large leaves of the white gum, as well as lerp, a protective coat secreted by sap sucking insects, and manna, a sugary substance secreted by eucalypts in response to insect attack (2) (3) (4).
A territorial bird, the forty-spotted pardalote tends to nest in loose colonies at permanent sites, with breeding pairs probably staying together for several years (3). At the beginning of the breeding season, which extends from August through to December, nests are built in the hollows of tree trunks and branches as well as dead stumps and fallen logs (3) (5). Between four to five eggs are laid and incubated for a period of 16 to 20 days. On hatching the chicks are reared almost exclusively on the carbohydrate and sugar-rich lerp and manna. Most chicks fledge between September and October, around 25 days after hatching, but some breeding pairs will produce a second clutch that fledges later. During the non-breeding season, there is restricted local dispersal by both adults and juveniles, probably in response to the limited availability of food around the colonies over winter (3).