Family Boatbills (Machaerirhynchidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-breasted Boatbill (Machaerirhynchus flaviventer)


French: Largebec à poitrine jaune German: Gelbbauch-Flachschnabel Spanish: Monarca piquiplano pechiamarillo

Machaerirhynchus flaviventer


, 1851,

Cape York, Australia


Four New Guinea subspecies have yellow vs black ear-coverts, appearing very distinct, but collectively show no other diagnostic plumage characters and, although some evidence suggests that Australian taxa are more varied vocally, no clear differences appear to exist in voice#R. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. f. albifrons G. R. Gray, 1862 – Waigeo, in West Papuan Is.
  • M. f. albigula Mayr & Meyer de Schauensee, 1939 – West Papuan Is (Salawati, Misool) and W & NC New Guinea E to Astrolabe Bay.
  • M. f. novus Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1912 – N coast of SE Peninsula of New Guinea (Huon Peninsula S to Watut Valley and Holnicote Bay).
  • M. f. xanthogenys G. R. Gray, 1858 – Aru Is and S & SE New Guinea E to Milne Bay.
  • M. f. flaviventer Gould, 1851 – NE Australia (N & E Cape York Peninsula).
  • M. f. secundus Mathews, 1912 – NE Queensland (Shipton’s Flat inland to Atherton Tablelands, and S to Townsville area).
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12·5 cm; 9–10 g. Small aberrant flycatcher with distinctive plumage; unusually broad flat bill with distinct keel on upper mandible is shaped like an... read more


    Vocal, often heard. Typical contact series in Australia a musical, shivering “chip chip wee... read more


    Rainforest, gallery forest, thick secondary growth and forest edge; mainly lowlands, locally to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food insects. Seen singly or in pairs; often a member of mixed-species feeding flocks, including gerygones (Gerygone), Little... read more


    Breeds Aug–Mar in Australia; probably single-brooded. Nest built by both sexes, a small, unusually frail, lace-like shallow basket of... read more


    Mainly resident; some local post-breeding wandering to wet sclerophyll or more open adjacent forest... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common in Australia (Queensland); thinly distributed and somewhat uncommon in New Guinea. Much of the Australian habitat is protected within... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gregory, P. (2019). Yellow-breasted Boatbill (Machaerirhynchus flaviventer). 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 20 May 2019).