File:Eurylaimides diversity.png
Diversity of Eurylaimides.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Tyranni
Infraorder: Eurylaimides
Seebohm, 1890
Families and Genera

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

Click for etymology

From Greek ευρυς eurus broad; λαιμος laimos throat.[2] The suffixes -oidēs, -odēs, and -idēs (< ειδος eidos likeness, appearance, species) are common ones in ornithology, indicating resemblance to or close relationship with another species, genus or group.[3]


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.[4] 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. Pittas are very colourful, with bright blues, greens, red and yellows, brightest on the head and underparts.[5] Sexes similar, but in some banded species, with dull females. Young birds are dull, more brownish and mottled or spotted.[5]


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).

Broadbills feed upon insects and fruit, while Neodrepanis asities feed upon nectar, like the unrelated sunbirds, and Philepitta asities feed upon fruit, pittas feed upon insects from the forest floor.[6] The pittas have an acute sense of smell and a secretive and rarely seen, despite its colourful plumage.[7]

The nest of the Velvet Asity is a pear-shaped hanging structure with three white eggs.[7] Pittas lay two-seven eggs and both sexes raise the young.[7] Broadbills build large, pear-shaped nests with a "porched" entrance on the lower half;[7] it is woven with from rootlets, leaves, and twigs, and often decorated with cobwebs and lichens, these are hung from inaccessible branches;[7] females lay one-eight eggs.[7]

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.[4] Broadbills typically lay two to three eggs.


The Sapayoa was originally classified in the group Pipridae, according to at least one author,[8] the genus more accurately fits the broadbill family. The four species of asities, a family endemic to Madagascar, are sometimes included in the broadbills.[9] It has been suggested that the group is not monophyletic.[10]


File:Green Broadbill.png

Green Broadbill.

There are six families of broadbills.

Family: Sapayoidae[1]

Family: Philepittidae - Asities

Family: Eurylaimidae - eurylaimid broadbills[1]

Family: Calyptomenidae - green broadbills[1]

Family: Smithornithidae - African broadbills[1]

Family: Pittidae: Pittas[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j John H. Boyd III (August 3, 2011). "PASSERIFORMES I Acanthisitti, Eurylaimides". TiF Checklist. Retrieved 14-06-2021.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ Jobling, J. (2015). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.), eds. "eurylaimus". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. 
  3. ^ Jobling, J. (2015). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.), eds. "acanthizoides". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. 
  4. ^ a b McClure, H. Elliott (1991). Forshaw, Joseph, ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 158–158. ISBN 1-85391-186-0. 
  5. ^ a b Kemp, Alan; Murray, Bruce D. (2003), "Pittas", in Christopher Perrins (editor), Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds, Firefly Books, pp. 418–420, ISBN 1-55297-777-3 
  6. ^ David Burnie (Editor), Richard Beatty (Contributor), Amy-Jane Beer (Contributor) (2010). The Natural History Book: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 978-1405336994. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Don E. Wilson (Author), David Burnie (Author) (2001). Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0789477645. 
  8. ^ Sapayoa aenigma: a New World representative of 'Old World suboscines'
  9. ^ Prum (1993)
  10. ^ Olson (1971)
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Irestedt et al (2013)
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Collar et al. (2015)


  • Collar N.J., J. del Hoyo, and F. Jutglar (2015). "The number of species in the Red-bellied Pitta Erythropitta erythrogaster complex: a quantitative analysis of morphological characters". Forktail. 31: 13–23. 
  • Irestedt, M., P.-H. Fabre, H. Batalha-Filho, K.A. Jønsson, C.S. Roselaar, G. Sangster, and P.G.P. Ericson (2013). "The spatio-temporal colonization and diversification across the Indo-Pacific by a 'great speciator' (Aves, Erythropitta erythrogaster)". Proc. Royal Soc. B. 280 (1759). doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.0309. 
  • Olson, S.L. (1971). "Taxonomic comments on the Eurylaimidae" (PDF). Ibis. 113: 507–516. 
  • Prum, R. 0. (1993). "Phylogeny, biogeography, and evolution of the broadbills (Eurylaimidae) and asities (Philepittidae) based on morphology.". Auk. 110: 304–324. 

External links


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