Family Boatbills (Machaerirhynchidae)

Least Concern

Black-breasted Boatbill (Machaerirhynchus nigripectus)


French: Largebec à poitrine noire German: Schwarzbrust-Flachschnabel Spanish: Monarca piquiplano pechinegro

Macheirhynchus [sic] nigripectus


, 1871,

interior of Vogelkop = Arfak Mountains, New Guinea


Races exhibit only minor variation#R#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. n. nigripectus Schlegel, 1871 – mountains of Vogelkop, in NW New Guinea.
  • M. n. saturatus Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1913 – Fakfak Mts and mountains of C New Guinea.
  • M. n. harterti van Oort, 1909 – mountains of Huon Peninsula and SE New Guinea; population in Adelbert Mts presumably of this form#R.
  • Present also in Foja Mts, but race still undiagnosed#R.

    Descriptive notes

    13–15 cm; 11–12·5 g. Medium sized aberrant flycatcher; unusually shaped large flattened bill with distinct keel on upper mandible is shaped like an... read more


    Vocal. Distinctive short harsh incisive “chit chit chit” notes a common contact call.... read more


    Montane and submontane forest, forest edge and secondary growth, from 850 m to tree-line at 2750 m... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insectivorous; takes small flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera) and small wasps (Hymenoptera). Joins mixed-species feeding flocks with... read more


    Recorded in Nov–Jan and also Jun, varying with locality, suggesting breeding during main rains. Nest a neat cup of fibres and moss,... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common in C ranges and some outlying ranges in New Guinea. No immediate threats evident in view of this species’ wide range and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Black-breasted Boatbill (Machaerirhynchus nigripectus). 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 20 October 2019).