Family Thornbills (Acanthizidae)

Least Concern

Large-billed Gerygone (Gerygone magnirostris)


French: Gérygone à bec fort German: Sumpfgerygone Spanish: Gerigón picudo

Gerygone magnirostris


, 1843,

Greenhill Island, Port Essington, Northern Territory, Australia


Often considered conspecific with G. hypoxantha (which see). Geographical variation not well marked, and some races may be untenable; in one recent treatment#R, cobana and occasa included in conspicillata, and proxima, onerosa and tagulana in rosseliana. Proposed race mimikae (S New Guinea from Onin Bay E to Port Moresby) synonymized with brunneipectus. Eleven subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. m. cobana (Mathews, 1926) – West Papuan Is (Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati).
  • G. m. occasa Ripley, 1957 – Kofiau I (WC West Papuan Is).
  • G. m. conspicillata (G. R. Gray, 1859) – NW New Guinea (Vogelkop region).
  • G. m. affinis A. B. Meyer, 1874 – N New Guinea (including islands of Yapen, Manam and Karkar).
  • G. m. brunneipectus (Sharpe, 1879) – S New Guinea and islands in N Torres Strait (Boigu, Saibai); Aru Is.
  • G. m. proxima Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1918 – D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago (Goodenough I, Fergusson I), off SE New Guinea.
  • G. m. onerosa E. J. O. Hartert, 1899 – Misima I (Louisiade Archipelago), SE of D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago.
  • G. m. tagulana Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1918 – Tagula I (Louisiade Archipelago).
  • G. m. rosseliana E. J. O. Hartert, 1899 – Rossel I (Louisiade Archipelago).
  • G. m. cairnsensis Mathews, 1912 – islands of S Torres Strait, and NE Australia (Cape York Peninsula S to Mitchell drainage in W and to Mackay in E).
  • G. m. magnirostris Gould, 1843 – coasts of N Western Australia (Napier-Broome Bay S to Collier Bay) and N Northern Territory (S to Daly R and Roper R), including Tiwi Is and Groote Eylandt.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–12 cm; c. 7 g. Similar in size and shape to G. levigaster, but with much broader and often longer bill. Nominate race has prominent pale broken eyering,... read more


    Song varies with range, but basically a lilting, repetitive musical sequence typical of genus. In... read more


    Mangrove associations, also riparian and littoral woodland, paperbark (Melaleuca) woodland... read more

    Food and feeding

    Spiders (Araneae) significant prey; beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera), wasps (Hymenoptera), moths (Lepidoptera) and grasshoppers (... read more


    Recorded in all months. Solitary, but sometimes pairs close together (50 cm). Pair maintains territory. Nest built by both sexes, an untidy... read more


    Primarily resident over most of range, but poorly known; suggestion of some local seasonal or food-... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common throughout most of range. Uncommon to scarce or rare locally, e.g. where mangroves have been destroyed and on some small Torres Strait islands... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. & de Juana, E. (2019). Large-billed Gerygone (Gerygone magnirostris). 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 17 February 2019).