Family Whistlers (Pachycephalidae)

Least Concern

Golden-backed Whistler (Pachycephala aurea)


French: Siffleur à cape jaune German: Gelbrücken-Dickkopf Spanish: Silbador áureo

Pachycephala aurea


, 1899,

Ramu River, New Guinea


Race dahli of P. melanura may be better placed with present species; as name dahli has priority, species would then become “P. dahli”. Monotypic.


New Guinea at scattered localities from Weyland Mts and S slopes of Snow Mts E to upper Fly R, Ok Tedi, Telefomin, Nomad R, middle Sepik R, upper Ramu R, L Kopiago, Nembi Valley, and a few localities in mountains of SE (including Garaina and Naoro).

Descriptive notes

15–17 cm. Has crown, side of head and neck black, back, rump and uppertail-coverts yellow, upperwing and tail black; chin and side of throat black, centre of throat... read more


Musical whistles of steeply modulated pitch, often with explosive finish, “wheet-wheet-wheet-... read more


Secondary growth, shrubs, tall canegrass or other vegetation fringing rivers or lakes, mixture of... read more

Food and feeding

Insects. Forages mainly at 3–7 m, sometimes higher or lower; behaviour reportedly as that of P. pectoralis.


No information.


Presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common to very common. Distribution very patchy.

Recommended citation

Boles, W. (2020). Golden-backed Whistler (Pachycephala aurea). 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 7 April 2020).