Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Eastern White-throated Spadebill (Platyrinchus mystaceus)


French: Platyrhynque à moustaches German: Gelbscheitel-Spatelschnabeltyrann Spanish: Picoplano bigotudo oriental
Other common names: Yellow-crested Spadebill

Platyrhynchos mystaceus


, 1818,



Hitherto considered conspecific with P. albogularis (which see) and formerly with P. cancrominus. Specimen from N Bolivia (Trinidad) may belong to race bifasciatus, thus extending latter’s range far to W. Nine subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. m. insularis J. A. Allen, 1889 – N Venezuela (Falcón and Mérida E to Sucre, and Orinoco Valley from NW Bolívar E to Delta Amacuro), Trinidad and Tobago, and locally in W Guyana and French Guiana.
  • P. m. imatacae J. T. Zimmer & Phelps, Sr, 1945 – Sierra de Imataca, in NE Bolívar (E Venezuela).
  • P. m. ptaritepui J. T. Zimmer & Phelps, Sr, 1946 – Sororopán-tepui, Ptari-tepui and Aprada-tepui, in SE Bolívar (SE Venezuela).
  • P. m. duidae J. T. Zimmer, 1939 – S & SE Venezuela (Cerros Yaví, Duida and Roraima) and extreme N Brazil (N R Branco).
  • P. m. ventralis Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1955 – extreme S Venezuela (Cerro de la Neblina) and adjacent NW Brazil.
  • P. m. bifasciatus J. A. Allen, 1889 – S Brazil (C Mato Grosso E to C Goiás), possibly also N Bolivia (S Beni).
  • P. m. mystaceus Vieillot, 1818 – SE Brazil (S Mato Grosso, C Paraná and W Santa Catarina S to Rio Grande do Sul), E Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones, Corrientes).
  • P. m. cancromus Temminck, 1820 – E Brazil (interior Maranhão E to Ceará and N Bahia, S to E Paraná and E Santa Catarina).
  • P. m. niveigularis O. M. O. Pinto, 1954 – coastal forests of NE Brazil (Paraíba S to Alagoas).
  • Descriptive notes

    9–10·6 cm; 7·5–11 g. Small, large-headed and stub-tailed spadebill with bold facial pattern. Male nominate race has pale buff-yellow supraloral... read more


    Song (mostly given at dawn and during early morning) a prolonged, bubbling or squeaky, slightly... read more


    Undergrowth of a variety of habitats, including humid lowland and foothill forests, gallery forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods, including coleopterans, Formicidae, hemipterans, hymenopterans and lepidopterans, as well as Araneae; once seeds. Occurs in... read more


    Season May–Jul on Trinidad, Jun on Tobago, and similar in NC Venezuela (race insularis); Oct–Dec in Minas Gerais, SE... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to fairly common, but perhaps less numerous at higher altitudes in range; often overlooked unless mist-netted. Known from many... read more

    Recommended citation

    Tello, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Eastern White-throated Spadebill (Platyrinchus mystaceus). 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 28 February 2020).