A critically-endangered bird species, native only to Victoria, has recorded a bumper breeding season, bringing it one step closer to staving off extinction.
Thirty-six helmeted honeyeater couples in Melbourne's east have raised 61 fledglings so far, with hope for more before the end of the breeding season in March.
Of the 36 couples, 24 birds are first-time parents.
"This is fantastic news for the recovery program, as it means the birds that are reaching breeding age are replacing lost birds or, in some cases, finding their own breeding sites," Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Ornithologist Bruce Quin said on Wednesday.
"It's also a big positive for the conservation program as it shows there is enough quality habitat to support a population increase."
The small, yellow-tufted species has been quietly making a comeback from near-extinction thanks to a three-decade-long conservation program.
The helmeted honeyeater is Victoria's bird emblem.