Broad-billed Tody Todus subulatus

  • Order: Coraciiformes
  • Family: Todidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Lowell C. Overton



The Broad-billed Tody primarily occurs in open scrub, semi-desert regions of lower elevations of the island of Hispaniola; in contrast, the Narrow-billed Tody (Todus angustirostris) prefers the moister, dense montane forests on Hispaniola. However, both species overlap in distribution throughout the Sierra de Baoruco and Cordillera Central (Kepler 1977, Latta and Wunderle 1996). Moreover both species appear to join mix species flocks in pine forests, and is suggested to do so for enhanced feeding opportunities (Latta and Wunderle 1996).

When they occur together in the same habitat, both the Broad-billed Tody and Narrow-billed Tody adjust their behavior and their locations when foraging. This suggests that both of these species compete directly for similar resources (insects) within the same habitat. Narrow-billed Todies in general have higher feeding rates than do the Broad-billed Todies across all habitat types. In pine forests (Pinus spp.), the Broad-billed Tody forages with more near-perch jumps (as opposed to sally-strikes or sally-hovers). In coffee plantations, Narrow-billed Todies forage more among the coffee plants (usually on the leaves) compared to Broad-billed Todies (Latta and Wunderle 1996).

Sexual Behavior

Broad-billed Todies (like all todies) are seasonally monogamous, one individual from each sex mates during one season. Typically only one clutch is laid per season, although multiple matings and clutches per pair have been observed (Kepler 1977).

The courtship and courtship displays of the Broad-billed Tody are like the rest of the todies and other Coraciiformes, the use of aerial flights and tumbles without distinctive vocalizations (Kepler 1977). Wing rattling appears to be a “unique” trait to tody courtship and has been suggested to resemble some of the manakin (Pipridae) species (Sick 1967).

Social and interspecific behavior

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Recommended Citation

Overton, L. C. (2011). Broad-billed Tody (Todus subulatus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.