Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

White-crested Spadebill (Platyrinchus platyrhynchos)


French: Platyrhynque à cimier blanc German: Silberkopf-Spatelschnabeltyrann Spanish: Picoplano crestiblanco

[Todus] platyrhynchos

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

locality unknown, possibly Suriname


Further work needed to clarify taxonomic limits of races. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. p. platyrhynchos (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – E Colombia (E Guainía and E Vaupés, probably also E Vichada), S Venezuela (Amazonas, Bolívar), the Guianas, and N Amazonian Brazil (upper R Negro E to R Branco and N Pará).
  • P. p. senex P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1880 – E Ecuador, E Peru, extreme W Brazil (R Juruá) and N Bolivia (S to La Paz, SW Beni, and NE Santa Cruz).
  • P. p. nattereri E. J. O. Hartert & Hellmayr, 1902 – SC Amazonian Brazil from lower R Purus E to upper R Madeira and R Jiparaná (E Amazonas).
  • P. p. amazonicus Berlepsch, 1912 – E Amazonian Brazil S of Amazon, from left bank of R Tapajós E to N Maranhão.
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5–11·5 cm; 11·5–13 g. Large-headed, stub-tailed flycatcher; bill extremely broad (12 mm), broadest of genus. Nominate race has grey head, darker on crown and... read more


    Song a thin buzzy or burry trill that ascends and then descends in pitch, e.g. as “pr’re’re’e’e’e’e... read more


    Open understorey of humid terra firme forest; most numerous in forests on sandy soils.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small arthropods; bugs (Hemiptera), including homopterans of family Fulgoridae, recorded in diet in Surinam. Occurs in pairs; not seen to... read more


    Recorded (without specific details) in Nov in Surinam; male in breeding condition in May in SE Colombia. Display-flight between perches at... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally rare throughout most of range, but could be overlooked; local in NW Amazonia, and uncommon to locally fairly common in Venezuela. Few... read more

    Recommended citation

    Tello, J. (2019). White-crested Spadebill (Platyrinchus platyrhynchos). 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 6 December 2019).