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File:Eurylaimus javanicus - Khao Yai.png
Banded Broadbill
Eurylaimus javanicus
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
clade: Dinosauria
Class: Aves
clade: Australaves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Eupasseres
Suborder: Tyranni
Infraorder: Eurylaimides
Seebohm, 1890
Families and Genera

The broadbills are a family of small passerine birds, in three families [1]: Eurylaimidae. The Smithornis and Pseudocalyptomena species occur in sub-Saharan Africa; the rest extend from the eastern Himalayas to Sumatra and Borneo. The family possibly also includes the Sapayoa from the Neotropics and the asities from Madagascar.


Many of the broadbills are brightly coloured birds. They range from 13 to 28 centimetres in length, and live in the dense canopies of wet forests, allowing them to hide despite their brightly coloured plumage.[2] The plumage of the three African broadbills in the genus Smithornis is in contrast dull and streaked. The bills, which give the family their common name, are broad, flat and hooked.


The broadbills are for the most part insectivorous and carnivorous. Prey taken include insects, spiders, centipedes and millipedes, as well as lizards and tree frogs. Prey is obtained by sallying from a perch to snatch it in flight, and gleaning the prey off leaves and branches while flying. Some species may take some fruit, but only the green broadbills of the genus Calyptomena and the African Green Broadbill are primarily frugivores (which also take some insects as well).

They are generally gregarious, with many species moving about in flocks of about 20 individuals. Broadbills attach their purse-shaped nests to suspended vines, and leave a tail of fibres hanging below it. This gives the nest the appearance of being random debris caught in the tree, an effect further enhanced by the birds covering the nest with lichen and spider webs.[2] Broadbills typically lay two to three eggs.


The Sapayoa was originally classified in the group Pipridae, according to at least one author,[3] the genus more accurately fits the broadbill family. The four species of asities, a family endemic to Madagascar, are sometimes included in the broadbills.[4] It has been suggested that the group is not monophyletic.[5]


Calyptomena viridis-20090308

Green Broadbill

There are five subfamilies of broadbills.



  1. ^ John H. Boyd III (August 3, 2011). "PASSERIFORMES I Acanthisitti, Eurylaimides". TiF Checklist. Retrieved 30-03-2017. 
  2. ^ a b McClure, H. Elliott (1991). Forshaw, Joseph. ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 158–158. ISBN 1-85391-186-0. 
  3. ^ Sapayoa aenigma: a New World representative of 'Old World suboscines'
  4. ^ Prum, R. 0. (1993). "Phylogeny, biogeography, and evolution of the broadbills (Eurylaimidae) and asities (Philepittidae) based on morphology.". Auk 110: 304–324. 
  5. ^ Olson, SL (1971). "Taxonomic comments on the Eurylaimidae". Ibis 113: 507–516. 

External links


Eurasian Spoonbill This article is part of Project Bird Genera, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each genus, including made-up genera.
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