Slightly bigger than the similar Black-headed Honeyeater M. affinis, which is the only other member of this genus to be found in Tasmania. Both are endemic to the island. The Strong-billed Honeyeater is distinguished by its black head, with a broad white band around the nape, starting at the rear of each eye, and black patch below the bill. The back is olive green and the underparts are greyish. The Black-headed Honeyeater lacks the white nape band, has a black head and throat and has white underparts. The young Strong-billed Honeyeater has a more brownish head and yellow bill (black in adults). Generally found in wetter forests, where it feeds in a treecreeper-like manner on insects and spiders, foraging in small, noisy groups.