Family Berrypeckers and Longbills (Melanocharitidae)

Least Concern

Spectacled Longbill (Oedistoma iliolophus)


French: Toxoramphe à ventre gris German: Gnomenpfriemschnabel Spanish: Picudo pechigrís
Other common names: Dwarf Longbill, Plumed Longbill

Melilestes iliolophus


, 1876,

Meos Num and Yapen Island, Geelvink Bay, New Guinea


Sometimes placed in Melanocharis. Races rather weakly differentiated; proposed forms affine (mountains of Vogelkop) and flavum (S & SE lowlands) merged into nominate#R. Species name often listed as iliolophum; race fergussonis as fergussone, but both names are invariable. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. i. cinerascens (Stresemann & Paludan, 1932) – Waigeo, in N West Papuan Is.
  • O. i. iliolophus (Salvadori, 1876) – mountains of Vogelkop, islands in Geelvink Bay (Mios Num, Yapen), and mainland New Guinea from Geelvink Bay E, including Weyland Mts, Victor Emanuel Mts and Sepik Mts, to Huon Peninsula and S & SE lowlands.
  • O. i. fergussonis (E. J. O. Hartert, 1896) – D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago (Goodenough, Fergusson and Normanby), off SE New Guinea.
  • Descriptive notes

    11 cm. Very small, very drab-looking passerine with long decurved bill. Nominate race is dark olive-green above, olive-grey below, washed with yellow on flanks; iris dark... read more


    A scolding, anxious-sounding "twik twik" series; also, typically, a dry, sharp "... read more


    Rainforest and, locally, monsoon forest, in lowlands and hills; found also at forest edge and in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on insects, nectar and sometimes fruit. Forages in lower levels of vegetation, also at flowering trees and shrubs. Very active, and... read more


    Poorly known. Noted as breeding at Brown R, near Port Moresby, in Aug–Sept dry season and as being in breeding condition in Oct. One... read more


    Resident; in study at Brown R, individuals frequently retrapped at site of ringing.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common within its widely distributed habitat, and often one of the most abundant birds of lowland forest and hill forest, but seemingly... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Spectacled Longbill (Oedistoma iliolophus). 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 21 May 2019).