Family Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)


Dusky Friarbird (Philemon fuscicapillus)


French: Polochion sombre German: Molukkenlederkopf Spanish: Filemón sombrío
Other common names: Morotai Friarbird

Tropidorhynchus fuscicapillus


, 1862,

Morty Island = Morotai, north Moluccas


In past, suggested to be conspecific with P. subcorniculatus, P. moluccensis and P. plumigenis, and perhaps also with P. buceroides, P. cockerelli, P. eichhorni and P. albitorques. Monotypic.


Morotai, in N Moluccas; claimed occurrence on Halmahera and Bacan probably erroneous#R.

Descriptive notes

30 cm. Large, rather drab honeyeater with moderately long, heavy and gently decurved bill with slight protuberance (casque) at base of bill. Plumage is plain grey-brown above... read more


No details; calls that appear to be made by this species very similar to those of P. buceroides... read more


On Halmahera, recent records in primary forest and logged forest, and not recorded in mangroves; in... read more

Food and feeding

Little information. Forages in canopy of tall trees; inconspicuous and infrequently observed. Usually seen singly, occasionally in twos (... read more


Male with fairly enlarged gonads in Apr, and two juveniles in May. No other information.  


Probably resident, with some local movements.  

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restrictedrange species: present in Northern Maluku EBA. No estimates of population, but apparently uncommon; very few confirmed recent records and current... read more

Recommended citation

Higgins, P., Christidis, L. & Ford, H. (2019). Dusky Friarbird (Philemon fuscicapillus). 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 December 2019).