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Pachyramphus minor

Pink-throated Becard

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Tityridae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Liebers, Matt



Becards (Pachyramphus) have relatively large heads and heavy bills, and resemble tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae). Male becards also have modified wing feathers: the ninth primary is very short (half the length of the 10th primary), and is sharply pointed. Pink-throated Becard is one of the larger species of Pachyramphus becard. The male is predominately dark gray, with a patch of dark pink on the lower throat. The female is dull brown above, with a gray crown and back, rufous tail and rufous-edged wing feathers, and is cinnamon below.

Similar Species

Male Pink-throated Becard is distinctive in most of Amazonia; the combination of dark gray plumage and pink lower throat are unique within its range. The most similar species are three other large Pachyramphus, with distributions that are allopatric or only narrowly sympatric Pink-throated Becard. Crested Becard (Pachyramphus validus) is locally sympatric with Pink-throated Becard, in eastern and southern Amazonia. Male Crested Becard is paler gray below, appearing two-toned, and lacks the pink throat. Female Crested Becard is more similar to female Pink-throated, but has a rufous back, showing greater contrast to the gray crown.

Among allopatric becards, male One-colored Becard (Pachyramphus homochrous) of northwestern South America and Panama is all gray, with no pink on the throat; the female is mostly rufous and buff, including on the crown. Male Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae) of Central America has a pattern similar to that of male Pink-throated Becard, but in most subspecies, male Pink-throated is much paler gray than Pink-throated, and has a larger, paler pink throat patch. Females of the two species also are similar, but among other differences, female Pink-throated Becard has a blacker crown.

Confusion may also arise with White-winged Becard (Pachyramphus polycopterus), which is widely sympatric with Pink-throated Becard. Males of White-winged Becard, in subspecies sympatric with Pink-throated, are gray below, but show at least some white in the wing, and more extensive white in the tail. White-winged Becard also is smaller than Pink-throated Becard. 


Pink-throated Becard generally is quiet (Hilty and Brown 1986, Hilty 2003). The song variously is described as "a clear, rising whistle, tyoooeee" (Hilty and Brown 1986); as "a clear, melodic tuuuweeeit, obviously rising" (Ridgely and Tudor 1994); and as "a thin, wiry, high, rising-falling, whiny tewwweeewww or a rising tueeeet?" (Lane, in Schulenberg et al. 2010). This sometimes is followed by interspersed by series of twittering notes (Ridgely and Tudor 1994).

Calls include "a soft grosbeaklike (Pheucticus) pik" (Remsen, in Hilty and Brown 1986) or "a sharp ik" (Lane, in Schulenberg et al. 2010), and "a rapid chatter of squeaky whistles and whines" (Lane, in Schulenberg et al. 2010).

Additional recordings of Pink-throated Becard can be heard at Macaulay Library and at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported.

Detailed Description (appearance)

The following description is based on Mobley (2004):

Adult male: Mostly black or dark sooty gray, face slightly paler grayish black. Slightly paler below. Patch of pink (sometimes indistinct) on lower throat and upper breast. Some white along bend of wing (but usually hidden). The ninth primary is very short (half the length of the 10th primary), and is sharply pointed.

Adult female: Crown and nape grayish brown. Small buff supraloral spot. Back gray; rump gray with a rufous tinge. Wings and tail rufous. Underparts, including throat, buff. Plumage of the female is reported to be individually variable (Hellmayr 1929, Friedmann 1948).

Bare Parts

Iris: brown, dark brown

Bill: blackish; or maxilla black, mandible gray with black tomia

Tarsi and toes: blackish, gray

Bare parts color data from Haverschmidt (1968) and Willard et al. (1991).


Total length: 16.5 cm (Hilty and Brown 1986, Hilty 2003), 17 cm (Ridgely and Tudor 1994), 17-17.5 cm (Schulenberg et al. 2010)

Linear measurements:

wing length, male: mean 91.4 mm (range 88-93 mm, n = 5; Haverschmidt and Mees 1994)

wing length, female: mean 89.7 mm (range 88-91 mm, n = 7; Haverschmidt and Mees 1994)

male (n= 1; Novaes and Lima 1998): wing length, 91.0 mm; tail length, 57.0 mm; culmen from base, 20.7 mm; tarsus, 21.5 mm

female (unsexed, female by plumage, n = 1; Novaes and Lima 1998): wing length, 89.0 mm; tail length, 64.6 mm; culmen from base, 21.0 mm; tarsus, 19.9 mm


male, mean 36.4 g (range 32.7-44 g, n = 12; Haverschmidt and Mees 1994)

female, mean 36.9 g (range 31.2-39.9 g, n = 12; Haverschmidt and Mees 1994)

unsexed, 1, 40.2 g (Weske 1972)


 No information.

Geographic Variation

Monotypic. Hellmayr (1929) suggested that males of populations south of the Amazon "are on average rather paler, more grayish", but no subspecies are recognized.


Pink-throated Becard is considered to be most closely related to Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus algaiae), One-colored Becard (Pachyramphus homochrous) and Crested Becard (Pachyramphus validus). Meyer de Schauensee (1966) suggested that minor, aglaiae and homochrous (but not validus) might be conspecific, but most authors have classified them as full species (Hellmayr 1929, Snow 1979, Fitzpatrick 2004). Snow (1979) suggested that these four constitute a superspecies.

These same four species also formerly were classified in the genus Platypsaris (e.g. Ridgway 1907, Hellmayr 1929), which was distinguished from Pachyramphus by larger body size, more cylindrical shape to the bill, and less extreme modifications to the ninth primary of the male ("ninth primary more obtusely and broadly attenuate at tip, never emarginate nor subfulcate"; Ridgway 1907: 772) (Ridgway 1907, Snow 1973). There also are minor differences in the position of the nest: the nest of "Platypsaris" "is typically suspended from the tip of a drooping branch, while that of Pachyramphus [sensu stricto] is typically supported in a vertical or horizontal branch" (Snow 1973). Snow (1973) did not consider these differences to be very great; he merged Platypsaris into Pachyramphus, a classification followed by subsequent authors. This classification was confirmed by phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequence data: the four species of "Platypsaris" form a clade that is embedded within Pachyramphus (Barber and Rice 2007). The basal species is validus; minor is sister to the pair aglaiae and homochrous (Barber and Rice 2007).

Pachyramphus has been classified with several different families. It long was included among the cotingas (Cotingidae; e.g. Ridgway 1907, Hellmayr 1929), but Traylor (1977) moved Pachyramphus (and Tityra) to the Tyrannidae, because of similarities in cranial characters between these two genera and tyrannids. Phylogenetic analysis of syringeal characters (Prum 2000) and of DNA sequence data (Barber and Rice 2007, Tello et al. 2009) confirm that Pachyramphus and Tityra are part of the same clade, now recognized as the family Tityridae, and which also includes the genera Schiffornis, Laniocera, Iodopleura, Laniisoma, and Xenopsaris.

Recommended Citation

Liebers, Matt. 2012. Pink-throated Becard (Pachyramphus minor), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: