Family Melampittas (Melampittidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Melampitta (Melampitta lugubris)


French: Petite Mélampitte German: Glanzflöter Spanish: Melampita chica

Melampitta lugubris


, 1871,

Arfak Mountains, New Guinea


Previously divided into three races, namely nominate (Arfak Mts, in NW New Guinea), rostrata (Weyland Mts and Nassau Range, in WC), and longicauda (Oranje Range E to Huon Peninsula and Owen Stanley Range); but differences minimal (involving measurements) and variation probably clinal#R. Treated as monotypic.


Arfak Mts, in NW New Guinea, and Central Range from Weyland Mts, Oranje Range and Nassau Range E to Huon Peninsula and Owen Stanley Range.

Descriptive notes

17–18 cm; 29–32 g. Male has plumage entirely black, forehead glossy, feathers of forehead, forecrown, lores and cheek short and velvety; iris red; bill and legs... read more


Song is a gradually descending series of rapid buzzy notes, “zwee-dididididididi”.... read more


Mountain forest and adjoining regrowth with dense undergrowth, particularly gulleys in vicinity of... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, including beetles (Coleoptera) and larvae, and other invertebrates, e.g. worms and small snails; also, small frogs and fruit.... read more


Active nests in Oct and Nov and estimated egg-laying period late Sept to early Nov; hatching coincides with wet season. Nest dome-shaped,... read more


Probably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common to common. Apparently absent from some seemingly suitable localities, reasons for which unknown.

Recommended citation

Boles, W. (2018). Lesser Melampitta (Melampitta lugubris). 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 18 November 2018).