Family Berrypeckers and Longbills (Melanocharitidae)

Least Concern

Black Berrypecker (Melanocharis nigra)


French: Piquebaie noir German: Weißbüschel-Beerenpicker Spanish: Picabayas negro

Dicaeum niger


, 1830,

Manokwari, western New Guinea


Perhaps forms a species-pair with M. arfakiana. Race unicolor notably distinct in its all-black vs dull grey underparts, but no other differences apparent, including in voice recordings; nevertheless, recent statement that regional vocal differences exist#R suggests further research needed. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. n. pallida Stresemann & Paludan, 1932 – Waigeo I, in West Papuan Is.
  • M. n. nigra (Lesson, 1830) – Black Berrypecker – West Papuan Is (Salawati, Misool), NW New Guinea (Vogelkop).
  • M. n. unicolor Salvadori, 1878 – Unicolored Berrypecker – Geelvink Bay (Yapen I, Mios Num I) and N, E & SE New Guinea.
  • M. n. chloroptera Salvadori, 1876 – Green-winged Berrypecker – Aru Is, SC New Guinea (Mimika R E to Purari R).
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5 cm. Small, active, quite short-tailed and stubby-billed forest berrypecker. Male nominate race is shiny blue-black above and dark grey below, with white pectoral... read more


    Song a rapid high-pitched stuttering twittering sequence, e.g. “whit-ee-chee whit-ee-chee whit-ee-... read more


    Rainforest, hill forest, monsoon forest, tall secondary growth; also visits canopy of mature teak... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small berries, also insects and spiders (Araneae). An active feeder, frequently moving and rarely still for long, except when feeding on... read more


    Recorded in May, Jun, Sept, Oct, Dec and Jan, and may occur in both wet and dry seasons; noted in pairs from Apr to Dec in Port Moresby... read more


    Mainly sedentary, as indicated by recoveries of ringed individuals. Some local wandering possible,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common, and widespread. Heard far more often than it is seen, as both secretive and very active; possibly more common than it... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Black Berrypecker (Melanocharis nigra). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 May 2019).