Family Berrypeckers and Longbills (Melanocharitidae)

Least Concern

Pygmy Longbill (Oedistoma pygmaeum)


French: Toxoramphe pygmée German: Zwergpfriemschnabel Spanish: Picudo pigmeo

Oedistoma pygmaeum


, 1876,

Arfak Mountains, New Guinea


Race meeki fairly distinctive based on its slightly larger size (allow 1), grey-olive vs olive-green head (2) and whitish vs yellowish-white underparts (1); further study required. Proposed races flavipectus (S New Guinea E from Etna Bay), olivascens (NE coast E from Huon Peninsula) and waigeuense (Waigeo, in N West Papuan Is) included in nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. p. pygmaeum Salvadori, 1876 – Pygmy Longbill – West Papuan Is (Waigeo, Misool) and mainland New Guinea.
  • O. p. meeki (E. J. O. Hartert, 1896) – Grey-headed Longbill – D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago (Goodenough I, Fergusson I, Normanby I), off SE New Guinea.
  • Descriptive notes

    7·3 cm; 5 g. Tiny, very short-tailed, canopy-dwelling passerine, the smallest of New Guinea birds; resembles a crombec (Sylvietta), but with decurved shortish... read more


    Usual call a continual fairly quiet clicking "chit chit chit" series, given by several individuals... read more


    Rainforest, monsoon forest (in Trans-Fly region), forest edges and clearings, and gallery forest.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet poorly known, but insects, spiders (Araneae) and nectar taken. Seems to forage mainly in canopy, where highly vocal and usually heard... read more


    Female in breeding condition in Oct in Central Province of Papua New Guinea. No other information.


    Appears to be resident; may move locally in response to flowering of trees.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common but unobtrusive; very vocal, and often located by its calls. Has very wide range in New Guinea, being present over much of mainland and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Pygmy Longbill (Oedistoma pygmaeum). 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).