Lesser Green broadbill
The Green broadbill is a small species in the broadbill family and can be identified by means of its vibrant green plumage. These birds are sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females look different. Males have a black dot behind their ears and black bands across their wings, females have feathers of a duller green and no black markings.
The Green broadbill occurs in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, on the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and the Malay Peninsula, in lowland forests of broadleaved evergreen and lower montane rainforest.
Habits and lifestyle
Little is known about the social behavior of Green broadbills. It is very hard to notice them as they sit motionless within the canopy or just beneath it, flying quickly to a new location when disturbed. Their foliage-green coloring provides excellent camouflage. Broadbills generally are resident species; however, they often travel to a different altitude as seasons change, in dry seasons sometimes moving beyond their normal range when searching for food. Some species are nomadic in their search for fruiting trees; generally species that eat fruit are more nomadic than those that eat insects. This suggests that Green broadbills exhibit such nomadism, according to the seasonality of fruiting trees. Broadbills show crepuscular activity patterns and are generally gregarious.
Diet and nutrition
Little is known about the mating system of Green broadbills. Broadbills may exhibit either a monogamous mating system (one male mates with one female exclusively) or polygynous (with a lek system) when one male mates with multiple females. The breeding season is known to occur in from February to April in Myanmar, after the heavy rains of the early part of the northeast monsoon (major period of rainfall activity) in the Malay Peninsula and from March to June in Thailand. Male green broadbills perform a spinning courtship display. During the mating season, females weave a long, tubular nest from grasses in which to rear their offspring. A typical nest has 2-3 cream or yellow eggs. Young fledge at 22 to 23 days.
Myanmar: February-April, Malay Peninsula: after heavy rains of early northeast monsoon, Thailand: March-June
The main threat to this species is ongoing habitat loss as their lowland rainforest is rapidly disappearing. Another threat is forest fires.
According to IUCN, the Green broadbill is fairly common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.
The Green broadbill plays the important role of seed disperser. Its feeding habits help distribute fig seeds around the forest floor.
Fun facts for kids
- Broadbills love bathing in streams and puddles.
- The large mouths of these birds mean that they can eat much bigger pieces of food than other birds their size.
- This species does not have complex or melodic songs but instead, a range of calls described as whistles, trills, rattles, squeaks or screams. They most often call early in the morning and late afternoon.
- These birds also communicate by means of a variety of territorial and mating displays. Some perform spinning displays; other displays involve wing flapping, head bobbing, and feather fluffing. ‘Smithorninae’ family members, for example, perform display flights when they make a buzzing sound with their primary wing feathers that can be heard for more than 60 meters.
- Broadbills during the breeding season seem to be territorial, and their flights of display may serve as both territorial and breeding displays. They also may defend small fruit patches.