Bird O'clock

Discover the Beauty of the Black-and-Yellow Broadbill: All You Need to Know

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill, or Eurylaimus ochromalus, is an eye-catching bird found in Southeast Asia. With its unique and striking plumage, bird watchers and nature enthusiasts can easily spot and identify this fascinating species.

This article aims to provide an in-depth description of the Black-and-yellow Broadbills identification, plumages, and molts, to educate and inspire readers.


Field Identification

One of the most distinct features of the Black-and-yellow Broadbill is its conspicuous black and yellow plumage. The bird has a black head with a contrasting yellow chin, throat, and belly.

Its wings and back are iridescent blue-black, while the tail is black with a white tip. It has a short, thick beak and a strikingly bright red eye.

The male and female have similar appearances and markings, making it challenging to differentiate between the sexes.

Similar Species

The Black-and-yellow Broadbills striking appearance may lead to confusion with other bird species. Other broadbill birds, such as the Green Broadbill and the Long-tailed Broadbill, share some similar physical characteristics.

However, the Black-and-yellow Broadbill stands out with its distinctive black and yellow markings, which are unique to this species.


The Black-and-yellow Broadbill has a single molt that occurs after the breeding season. It changes its feathers in a predictable pattern, retaining most of its brilliant colors, including the black and yellow plumage.

After the molt, its feathers are in excellent condition, with no visible signs of wear and tear.


Like most birds, the Black-and-yellow Broadbill undergoes a seasonal feather molt, during which it sheds its old feathers and grows new ones. The molt process is essential to maintain feathers’ integrity, which are vital for flight and insulation.

During the breeding season, the Black-and-yellow Broadbill has vibrant breeding plumage with brighter colors than its non-breeding feathers. The breeding plumage is more vibrant in males, and they are often observed performing displays to attract potential mates.


The Black-and-yellow Broadbill is a striking bird species with unique plumage. It is easily recognizable with its black and yellow coloration and striking red eye.

Identifying the bird is crucial in distinguishing it from other similar species. Its single molt indicates the bird’s ability to maintain and retain its feathers’ quality.

This informative article aimed to educate readers on the Black-and-yellow Broadbill’s identification, plumages, and molts. Systematics History:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill, Eurylaimus ochromalus, is a broadbill bird species belonging to the family Eurylaimidae, which includes other Asian broadbills, turkey-like birds with bright and colorful plumage.

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill is part of the genus Eurylaimus, which comprises five species, namely: Black-and-yellow Broadbill, Banded Broadbill, Rufous-tailed Broadbill, Green Broadbill, and Long-tailed Broadbill. The birds naming history is quite interesting as it has had several names over the years.

It was first described in 1822 under the name “Calyptomena ochromelaena” by an English ornithologist named William John Swainson. In 1843, it was renamed “Eurylaimus ochromalus” by another ornithologist, Jean Cabanis.

Geographic Variation:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill is endemic to tropical and subtropical regions of Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Java, and the northern Philippines. This bird prefers evergreen and montane forests, which range from 600-1650m altitude.

Despite its widespread distribution throughout Southeast Asia, the Black-and-yellow Broadbill shows considerable geographic variation, particularly in its size, coloration, and frequency of vocalizations. Subspecies:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill has four recognized subspecies.

The subspecies differ from each other in size, color, and vocalization. 1.

Eurylaimus ochromalus ochromalus

The nominate subspecies, E. o.

ochromalus, is found in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Riau Archipelago. It has a smaller size compared to other subspecies, with a shorter tail and less extensive blue-black shading on its wings.

2. Eurylaimus ochromalus flavidus

The E.

o. flavidus subspecies inhabits Borneo and various nearby satellite islands.

It is larger than the nominate subspecies, with a longer, brighter yellow belly and longer tail. 3.

Eurylaimus ochromalus mindanensis

The E. o.

mindanensis subspecies is found in the northern Philippines. It is similar in size to the nominate subspecies but has a more extensive yellowish belly.

Its wings and tail are also shorter than those of other subspecies. 4.

Eurylaimus ochromalus siamensis

This subspecies, E. o.

siamensis, is found in Thailand. It is larger than the nominate subspecies and has a more extensive and brighter yellow belly.

Related Species:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill belongs to the family Eurylaimidae, which contains five species under the Eurylaimus genus. These species are:


Banded Broadbill (Eurylaimus javanicus)

2. Black-and-yellow Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus)


Rufous-tailed Broadbill (Eurylaimus erythromaximus)

4. Green Broadbill (Calyptomena viridis)


Long-tailed Broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae)

The Banded Broadbill is similar in size and shape to the Black-and-yellow Broadbill, but it has a distinctive belt-shaped white patch around its belly. The Rufous-tailed Broadbill is much larger than the Black-and-yellow Broadbill and has a rufous tail, contrasting with its dark green body.

The Green Broadbill is another member of the Eurylaimidae family but belongs to the Calyptomena genus. It is smaller than the Black-and-yellow Broadbill, with a green body, gray head, and black bill.

The Long-tailed Broadbill, on the other hand, is a more different-looking bird, with a long tail and bright blue and yellow plumage. Historical Changes to Distribution:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill’s distribution has remained stable over the years, mostly due to the bird’s ability to adapt to a wide range of environments.

However, human activities such as deforestation and habitat fragmentation have significantly affected the bird’s habitat and population. The Indonesian and Malaysian governments are currently conserving their forest habitats, and the species appears to be doing well in these reserves.

Conservation efforts will remain critical in ensuring that the Black-and-yellow Broadbill and other birds in the Eurylaimidae family continue to thrive.

In conclusion, the Black-and-yellow Broadbill is a fascinating Asian bird species with significant variations in morphology, vocalizations, and geographic distribution.

The species is adored by birders and nature enthusiasts for its striking black and yellow plumage, making it a distinctive bird in Southeast Asia’s evergreen forests. Understanding this bird’s systematics history, subspecies, and related species contributes to the conservation of this iconic bird and its broader bird family.


The Black-and-yellow Broadbill is found in evergreen forests, montane forests, and secondary growth forests across Southeast Asia. The bird species prefers a habitat with dense vegetation, with tall trees and understory growth.

The bird’s natural habitat provides shelter and food sources necessary for its survival. Lowland rainforests are ideal habitats for the Black-and-yellow Broadbill as they provide a lush environment with thick vegetation, such as fruit trees, that offer ample food sources.

Movements and Migration:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill is a non-migratory bird species, which means it does not undertake seasonal migration. However, it may make small movements in response to environmental changes such as forest fires or drought.

These movements may be short-lived or extend over several days, weeks, or even months. The bird is typically a sedentary species, which implies that it remains in the same area for most of the year, moving only when its habitat becomes unsuitable.

However, movements of individuals from one forest to another may occur over time, essentially due to extensive deforestation and loss of habitat. Dispersal of individuals from their breeding grounds occurs only after young ones become fully independent.

At this point, juveniles may move short distances, sometimes hundreds of meters away from their parents’ territories. Breeding territories are typically small (1-2 hectares) and are continuously defended throughout the breeding season.

Maintenance of breeding territories is critical for breeding success as it ensures an adequate feeding ground and nesting sites. The Black-and-yellow Broadbill’s choice of habitat is crucial in influencing the bird species movements.

Changes to the forest’s structure and composition may affect the bird’s movements, leading to potential habitat loss or fragmentation. Human activities, such as deforestation, are the most substantial factor that leads the Black-and-yellow Broadbill to move or abandon its habitat.

Illegal logging, conversion of primary forests to agriculture or plantations, construction, and urbanization are human activities that have led to habitat loss and fragmentation throughout Southeast Asia. Conservation efforts to protect this bird’s forested habitats remain critical in ensuring the survival of the Black-and-yellow Broadbill and other wildlife species.


The Black-and-yellow Broadbill plays a vital role in Southeast Asia’s ecosystem. As a non-migratory bird species, the Black-and-yellow Broadbill relies on its natural habitat continuously for food, breeding, and survival.

Its preference for evergreen and montane forests makes it vulnerable to habitat fragmentation, deforestation, and degradation. Human activities have already altered much of Southeast Asia’s forests, posing significant threats to the Black-and-yellow Broadbills survival.

By developing and implementing conservation strategies such as sustainable logging, reforestation and habitat restoration, the Black-and-yellow Broadbill’s habitat can be conserved and restored. Effective implementation of conservation measures will ensure the survival of this iconic bird, ensuring the continued benefits of nature’s variety and beauty for the current and future generations.

Diet and Foraging:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill is an insectivorous bird species, feeding mainly on insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. The bird uses its short, thick beak to catch its prey while perched on a tree branch, along with smooth, steady movements.

The broad bill has a hooked tip that helps it pry open bark to locate insects or reach into crevices. Feeding:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill tends to forage low and mid-level in trees, making it relatively easy to spot.

The bird forages alone or in pairs and moves steadily from branch to branch, picking insects off the leaves, bark, and branches. When hungry, the bird sweeps its head back and forth, scanning for prey until it locates food.


The bird feed mainly on insects such as ants, flies, beetles, and spiders, but also feeds on larger insects such as cicadas and grasshoppers. The Black-and-yellow Broadbill may supplement its insect-based diet with small fruits and berries.

The bird may also occasionally feed on frogs and lizards. Metabolism and Temperature Regulation:

Being a small, endothermic animal means that regulating their body temperatures is a challenge for Black-and-yellow Broadbills.

They depend heavily on metabolic processes to generate body heat and maintain a stable body temperature. The Black-and-yellow Broadbill has several metabolic adaptations suited to this end.

The bird has a high metabolic rate and a low heat loss ratio, allowing it to sustain flight and maintain its body temperature even in cooler environments. Sounds and Vocal Behavior:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill produces a range of sounds, including vocalizations used for communication.

The bird’s vocalizations are usually simple shrill whistles and low-pitched calls that are weak but can be heard up to several hundred meters away. The calls serve mainly as a means of communication between mated pairs or parent-offspring.


The Black-and-yellow Broadbill produces a range of vocalizations, including short whistles, trills, and chirps. The bird’s contact call is a soft, high-pitched “tsip” or “wik”, heard as a bird travels through the forest.

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill produces a more complex song during the breeding season, which is used to attract mates and establish their territory. Mated pairs of the Black-and-yellow Broadbill are known to produce a series of duetting calls, with one bird starting the call before the other completes it.

The duetting calls help establish and reinforce the pair’s social bond and defend their territory. In some Black-and-yellow Broadbills, the mated pairs alternate calls, with the male leading the first call and the female leading the subsequent calls.

Additionally, young Black-and-yellow Broadbills give off a begging call, which is often a soft, high-pitched call when it needs feeding. The call development follows a well-defined pattern of gradual change as the young grow older.

In conclusion, the Black-and-yellow Broadbill is a small insectivorous bird that primarily feeds on insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. The bird displays foraging behaviors suited to its lifestyle, including low and mid-level foraging in trees, picking insects off the leaves, bark, and branches.

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill has several metabolic adaptations suited to its endothermic animal nature, ensuring that it can maintain a stable body temperature and sustain flight. The bird’s range of vocalizations, including its contact calls, song and duetting calls, and begging call, serves a crucial means of communication between mated pairs or parent-offspring, essential to the bird’s social bonds in the breeding season.


The Black-and-yellow Broadbill has a unique set of behavioral adaptations that enables it to thrive in its natural habitat. Locomotion:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill is an agile bird that moves quickly and smoothly through the dense forest.

The bird moves from branch to branch and tree to tree using short, low, and direct flights. The bird’s broad, short wings, and stubby tail give it excellent maneuverability as it chases insects through the complex forest environment.


The Black-and-yellow Broadbill is a fastidious bird that spends a great deal of time preening and maintaining its feathers’ cleanliness. The bird uses its beak to remove dirt, debris, and other particles from its feathers, keeping them in prime condition for optimal flight and insulation.

Also, the bird tends to scratch its head using the claws of one foot. Agonistic Behavior:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill is a territorial bird that aggressively defends its territory against intruders, including other birds and mammals.

The bird displays a range of aggressive behaviors when defending its territory, including vocalizations, posturing, and lunging at intruders. The broad, hooked bill is used to defend the territory and attack intruders.

Sexual Behavior:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill has monogamous mating behavior, meaning they pair with only one mate during a breeding season. The mated pairs work together to build a nest, which is a small cup-shaped construction made of twigs, leaves, and other materials.

The nest is typically located in the fork of a tree, near the canopy, and is well camouflaged. Breeding:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill breeds once a year, with the breeding season beginning around March and lasting until May.

The bird’s mating behavior is characterized by a range of displays, including courtship feeding and dancing. The mated pair produces two to three pale green to blue eggs, which they incubate for about two weeks.

Demography and Populations:

The Black-and-yellow Broadbill has a stable population in the wild and is not considered an endangered species. Still, habitat fragmentation and degradation threaten the species.

These significant threats emphasize the urgency of conservation efforts in preserving the bird’s ecosystem and habitat. Conservation initiatives, such as habitat restoration and sustainable forest management, have had positive results in conserving the bird’s populations in various locations throughout Southeast Asia.

In conclusion, the Black-and-yellow Broadbill has well-adapted behavioral features that enable it to thrive in Southeast Asia’s dense forest environment. The bird utilizes its broad wings and hook-tipped bill to move efficiently and capture prey.

The bird displays territorial and agonistic behavior essential to its survival, aggressively defending its territory from intruders. The broadbill has a monogamous mating behavior, with mated pairs working together to build a nest and raise their offspring.

Conservation efforts remain critical to maintaining stable populations of the Black-and-yellow Broadbill and ensuring this iconic bird’s survival. The Black-and-yellow Broadbill is a charismatic bird species found in Southeast Asia.

This article has outlined the bird’s identification, systematics history, habitat, diet, behavior, breeding, and population. The bird species has uniquely evolved physical and behavioral adaptations that enable it to thrive in its dense forest habitat.

Habitat fragmentation and degradation threaten the Black-and-yellow Broadbill’s survival, making conservation efforts critical in preserving it and the broader ecosystem. Understanding this bird’s diverse and intricate features and characteristics contributes to its conservation and highlights the vital role wildlife plays in maintaining the earth’s biodiversity.

It’s crucial

Popular Posts