Broad-billed Tody Todus subulatus

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


All tody species nest by using excavated burrows in embankments (typical nesting strategy for most Coraciiformes). The average nest dimensions for the Broad-billed Tody is 3.7 cm wide by 4.0 cm high (n=45; Kepler 1977: 93, Table 1). The depth of the burrow is 30 to 60 cm in the Broad-billed Tody. The bank height where the burrows are excavated is approximately 1.5 m. Both male and females of the species (including all tody species) dig the burrow and usually begin as early as September, with excavation continuing through June. They vigorously defend the burrow from any trespassers (humans and mongooses included) (Kepler 1977).

Eggs: Tody eggs are the smallest of all the Coraciiformes (considered roughly the size of wren eggs). The typical size of a Broad-billed Tody egg is 15.9-18 mm by 13.3-15 wide (Kepler 1977). The eggs are white and unmarked, but with a distinct gloss, and often pick up reddish dirt stains (Wetmore and Swales 1931). Clutch size for this species (and all tody species) is one to four eggs, usually laid between April and July. Incubation for this species is approximately 2-3 weeks, depending on the season, with both sexes developing brood patches and jointly incubating the eggs (the female has a larger proportion of the incubating times) (Kepler 1977). The nestling period is also approximately 2-3 weeks long, after that the young fledge and the nesting pair separates.

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.