Family Tityras and allies (Tityridae)

Least Concern

Sharpbill (Oxyruncus cristatus)


French: Oxyrhynque huppé German: Flammenkopfkotinga Spanish: Picoagudo

Oxyrhyncus [sic] cristatus


, 1821,



Distribution extremely disjunct, perhaps relictual; birds observed in NW Colombia, SE Ecuador, Peru, NW Bolivia and S & NE Brazil of uncertain racial identity, thought possibly to represent one or more undescribed races. Races phelpsi and tocantinsi perhaps indistinguishable from hypoglaucus. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. c. frater (P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1868) – Costa Rica and W Panama (E to Veraguas).
  • O. c. brooksi Bangs & Barbour, 1922 – E Panama.
  • O. c. phelpsi Chapman, 1939 – mountains of S & SE Venezuela (except Mt Roraima) and adjacent parts of Brazil and Guyana.
  • O. c. hypoglaucus (Salvin & Godman, 1883) – SE Venezuela (Mt Roraima), the Guianas and NE Brazil (Amapá).
  • O. c. tocantinsi Chapman, 1939 – S Pará (from E side of lower R Tocantins SW to Serra dos Carajás, on W side), in Brazil.
  • O. c. cristatus Swainson, 1821 – SE Brazil (S Goiás, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo S to Santa Catarina), E Paraguay and extreme NE Argentina (N Misiones).
  • Also occurs (races undetermined) in NW Colombia (Serranía de San Lucas, Antioquia), SE Ecuador (Cordillera Cutucú, Cordillera del Cóndor), Peru (San Martín/Amazonas, Cordillera Azul, Junín, Cuzco, Puno), NW Bolivia (La Paz, R Tuichi) and S & NE Brazil (S Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pernambuco, Alagoas, S Bahia).

    Descriptive notes

    c. 17 cm; 42 g. Distinctive cotingid with sharply pointed bill and small head. Male nominate race has black crown mixed with olive, red erectile crest usually held flattened... read more


    Male song exceptionally distinctive, an extremely firm, sharp whistle lasting 1–3 seconds,... read more


    Humid tropical forest, usually at 400–1100 m, in Venezuela to 1200 m (Sierra de Lema);... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on fruits, also invertebrates. Both large and small fruits eaten, include berries of various families (e.g. Ericaceae, Loranthaceae,... read more


    Singing period Feb–Jun in Costa Rica and Sept–Nov in SE Brazil, probably represents breeding season; nest found in Feb in... read more


    Minimal information. Probably sedentary; possibly some altitudinal movements, descending to lower... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Status difficult to determine, as species poorly known and very hard to observe. Appears to be fairly common, but often local; only... read more

    Recommended citation

    Brooke, M. (2020). Sharpbill (Oxyruncus cristatus). 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 February 2020).