Green Figbird samcem.png
Australasian Figbird
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Infraorder: Corvida
Superfamily: Orioloidea
Family: Oriolidae
Genus: Sphecotheres
Vieillot, 1816

The figbirds are a genus (Sphecotheres) of orioles found in wooded habitats in Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Lesser Sundas.


Compared to the "typical" orioles of the genus Oriolus, the figbirds are more frugivorous (though they also take some small insects, nectar and seeds) and gregarious, even breeding in small, loose colonies (at least the Australasian Figbird; nesting habits still unknown for the remaining).[1] They are strongly sexually dimorphic, with males having olive-green upperparts, a black head, and (uniquely for the family) distinct bright red facial skin.[2][3] Females are drab-coloured, being dull brownish above, and white below with strong dark streaking. They have greyish facial skin, and a greyish-black bill.[2][3]


The three species have been considered conspecific, but today all major authorities consider them as separate species.[1][4][5][6][7] The split is primarily based on differences in measurements and plumage, and on biogeography.


Species in the genus Sphecotheres listed in taxonomic order:[1][4]

  • Timor Figbird, Sphecotheres viridis.
  • Wetar Figbird, Sphecotheres hypoleucus
  • Australasian Figbird, Sphecotheres vieilloti
    • Yellow Figbird, Sphecotheres (vieilloti) flaviventris
    • Green/Southern Figbird, Sphecotheres (vieilloti) vieilloti


  1. ^ a b c Higgins, P. J., L. Christidis, & H. A. Ford (2008). Family Oriolidae (Orioles). Pp. 692-731 in: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, & D. A. Christie. eds. (2008). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 13. Pendulin-tits to Shrikes. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-84-96553-45-3
  2. ^ a b Simpson, K. (editor) & N. Day (illustrator) (1994). Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. 2nd edition. Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-3930-X
  3. ^ a b Coates, B. J., & K. D. Bishop (1997). A Guide to the Birds of Wallacea. Dove Publications Pty. Ltd. ISBN 0-9590257-3-1
  4. ^ a b Dickinson, E. C. (editor) (2003). The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 3rd edition, w. updates. Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6536-X
  5. ^ Andrew, P. (1992). The Birds of Indonesia: A Check-list. Kukila Check-list No. 1. Indonesian Ornithological Society, Jakarta.
  6. ^ Gill, F., M. Wright, & D. Donsker (2009). IOC World Bird Names. Version 2.1. Accessed 04-07-2009
  7. ^ Christidis, L., & W. E. Boles (2008). Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO. ISBN 978-0-643-06511-6

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