Family Berrypeckers and Longbills (Melanocharitidae)

Least Concern

Fan-tailed Berrypecker (Melanocharis versteri)


French: Piquebaie éventail German: Fächerschwanz-Beerenpicker Spanish: Picabayas abanico

Pristorhamphus versteri


, 1876,

Arfak Mountains, New Guinea


Race virago sometimes included in maculiceps#R. Individuals from higher altitudes larger than those from lower down, but probably not taxonomically significant. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. v. versteri (Finsch, 1876) – mountains of Vogelkop, in NW New Guinea.
  • M. v. meeki (Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1911) – mountains of WC & C New Guinea from Weyland Mts E to Hindenburg Range, including Foja Mts.
  • M. v. virago (Stresemann, 1923) – mountains of N, EC & NE New Guinea, including Cyclops Mts, Torricelli Range, and Sepik Mts E to Huon Peninsula.
  • M. v. maculiceps (De Vis, 1898) – mountains of SE New Guinea, including Herzog Mts.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; male 12–15 g, female 16–20 g. Relatively large berrypecker with long graduated tail, the largest and longest-tailed of the genus, with distinct... read more


    Harsh, rasping “schwet dee-dee-dee-dee”, scratchy querulous “dee dee dee”,... read more


    Forest and dense secondary growth in mountains; visits fruiting trees in native gardens adjacent to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on small berries and arthropods. Frequents lower levels, shrubbery and forest edge, ascending to canopy at times when fruit is... read more


    Poorly known for so common a species. Nesting recorded in Jul and Nov, and young seen in Aug. Nest a smooth, neat, deep, thick-walled cup,... read more


    Resident; no movements or wandering known.  

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to quite common, and widespread over much of its range. Occupies a reasonably wide range on main island of New Guinea.  

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Fan-tailed Berrypecker (Melanocharis versteri). 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 24 May 2019).