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Broad-billed Tody Todus subulatus

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


  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Broad-billed Tody
eBird range map for Broad-billed Tody

Generated from eBird observations (Year-Round, 1900-present)

Distribution in the Americas

Resident on Hispaniola. Primarily occurs at lower elevations, up to 1700 m (Parker et el. 1996, Raffaele et al. 1998).

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas.


The species primarily exists in open scrub and semi-deserts of lower elevations primarily on the Dominican Republic rather than Haiti. Occurs in "virgin and second-growth forests, including pine, as well as scrub, shade coffee plantations, and some mangroves" (Raffaele et al. 1998). It can occur locally at in mixed-species flocks with the Narrow-billed Tody (Latta and Wunderle 1996).

Historical changes

None reported.

Fossil history

The oldest known tody fossil (Paleotodus emryi, Olson 1976) dates to the Oligocene (35 mya) of Wyoming (see Figure 2, Olson 1976). It has been speculated that the family may have arisen earlier, and been widespread throughout the New World (Bond 1948, 1966, Olson 1976 Feduccia 1982).

Olson considered this fossil tody to be most closely related to the Tody Motmot (Hylomanes motmotula) of Central America, suggesting the Tody Motmot is the closest living relative of the extant tody species (Murie 1872a, b, Sclater 1872, Bond 1948, Olson 1976). Consequently, Olson (1976) suggested that the motmot-tody group originated in the Old World and became supplanted from Europe into North America in the early Tertiary. The group apparently became confined to Central America after tropical conditions were restricted in North America during the middle to late Tertiary (Kepler 1972, 1977, Olson 1976). The motmots remained in Central America, while the todies apparently were restricted to an unknown tropical area, finally becoming isolated in the West Indies and evolving into the modern day Antillean species (Kepler 1972, 1977, Olson 1976). Olson’s (1976) assertion of a tody origin within Eurasia has been recently supported by the discovery of a fossil tody from the early Oligocene (ca 40 mya) of Europe (Mayr and Knopf 2007).

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.