Family Puffbirds (Bucconidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Pied Puffbird (Notharchus subtectus)


French: Tamatia mineur German: Nord-Elsterfaulvogel Spanish: Buco pío menor

Bucco subtectus

P. L. Sclater

, 1890,

Esmeraldas, western Ecuador


Sometimes placed in genus Bucco. Usually considered conspecific with N. tectus, but differs in somewhat smaller bill and wings (effect size for wings 2.93, subscore 2) yet slightly longer tail (effect size 0.46, subscore 0) (total 2); much narrower breastband (effect size 5.2; score 3); generally fewer spots on crown (because restricted to forecrown and mid-crown vs covering all crown), but variable, with some overlap (1); supposedly greyer flanks (not apparent in museum samples; ns); and (on basis of several independent recordings of each form) higher-pitched and possibly more piping, less modulated song (at least 1). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Caribbean SE Nicaragua#R, Costa Rica S to W & NC Colombia and NW Ecuador. Also isolated record in SW Nicaragua#R.

Descriptive notes

14–15·5 cm; 21–40 g. Most easily confused with N. hyperrhynchus, despite that latter is dramatically larger with a massive bill, but note... read more


Differences from formerly conspecific N. tectus not fully elucidated as yet, but song is... read more


Inhabits tropical lowland humid evergreen forest, edges, clearings and streamsides, second growth... read more

Food and feeding

Diet not well known, but presumably similar to that of N. tectus (includes dragonflies, bees, wasps, beetles); like the latter,... read more


May in Costa Rica and Jun in Panama; Feb–Aug in Colombia; apparently around Mar in Ecuador. Nest in hole excavated in arboreal... read more


None known.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. In Costa Rica, increasingly rare with deforestation; only recently discovered in neighbouring Nicaragua, where known from two sites, including Laguna... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Lesser Pied Puffbird (Notharchus subtectus). 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 16 February 2019).