Family Fairy-wrens (Maluridae)

Least Concern

Broad-billed Fairy-wren (Chenorhamphus grayi)


French: Mérion à bec large German: Breitschnabel-Staffelschwanz Spanish: Maluro picoancho

Todopsis grayi


, 1862,

Sorong, north-west New Guinea


Has sometimes been placed in Malurus, but recent DNA studies#R#R indicate that this renders Malurus paraphyletic, as present species forms a clade with Sipodotus and Clytomyias; see also M. cyanocephalus (below). Isolated race campbelli sometimes treated as separate species, and recently elevated on basis of mitochondrial (but not nuclear) DNA differences#R; otherwise differs mainly in being slightly smaller (sample size very small; one male wing was same length as three of nominate), and probably has a browner back and less sex-related difference in crown colour than nominate#R; voices of both taxa appear to be very poorly known. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. g. grayi (Wallace, 1862) – Broad-billed Fairy-wren – West Papuan Is (Salawati), and NW New Guinea from Vogelkop E to Sepik–Ramu region, N of main cordillera.
  • C. g. campbelli (Schodde, 1982) – Campbell’s Fairy-wren – lowlands from Kiunga to Mt Bosavi, perhaps more extensively#R, in CE New Guinea.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 14–14·5 cm; 14–17 g. Male nominate race has crown and forehead mottled, with blue-tipped charcoal feathers; sky-blue brow from bill to back of head, black band... read more


    Reeling song of 2–3 seconds’ duration, typical of genus. Calls noted include a high-pitched “... read more


    Understorey of tall primary forest to 1000 m; particularly favours tangled vines and shrubs under... read more

    Food and feeding

    No data on food; presumed insectivorous. Forages in groups, usually of 2–5 individuals; disturbs and snatches prey as group travels... read more


    Only one nest found, in Oct, containing two nestlings; fledglings observed in Feb and Nov. Nest a cavity in moss, with side entrance, lined... read more


    Probably resident in well-separated territories.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon wherever found. Would appear to be subject to potential future threat from broad-scale timber-harvesting.

    Recommended citation

    Rowley, I. & Russell, E. (2018). Broad-billed Fairy-wren (Chenorhamphus grayi). 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 15 October 2018).