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Greater Green Leafbird - BirdForum Opus

Photo by chrisli
Arong Nature Reserve, Malaysia, October 2016

Alternative names: Greater Leafbird; Malachite-shouldered Leafbird

Chloropsis sonnerati


Photo © by the late Dr Manjeet Singh
F.R.I.M. ,Sg Buloh, Selangor, Malaysia, September 2008

Largest and heaviest leafbird, 18 - 21cm (7-8¼ In)

  • All green plumage
  • Large, stout bill
  • Blue shoulder-patch (usually not visible in field)


  • Black face and black bib
  • Purple-blue malar band


  • Lacks black mask and bib
  • Paler blue malar band
  • Bright yellow throat and eyering

Juvenile resembles female but has less distinctive yellowish throat and eyering.

Similar species

Subadult female
Photo by seetoh
Central Catchment Forest, Singapore, May 2018

Very similar to Lesser Green Leafbird. Larger and with much longer and heavier bill and no yellowish forehead or border to black bib.

Three types of similar looking leafbirds occur in Thailand, Peninsula Malaysia and Singapore - Blue-winged, Greater Green and Lesser Green Leafbirds - making them difficult to identify in the field. The male Greater Green and Lesser Green can be distinguished from the Blue-winged Leafbird by the lack of bluish wing patch and tail sides while the female Greater Green and Lesser Green Leafbird lacks the bluish wing patch, tail sides and throat patch. The male Greater Green is distinguished from the male Lesser Green Leafbird by its bigger size and stronger bill. Besides size and bill differences, female Greater Green Leafbird has yellow eye-ring and throat patch which is lacking in female Lesser Green Leafbird.


Found in South-east Asia from southern Burma and Thailand to peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo (including some adjacent smaller islands) and Java.
Still locally common where suitable habitat remains. Scarce and locally on Java.



Two subspecies recognized[1]:

  • C. s. zosterops:
  • C. s. sonnerati:

The described subspecies parvirostris from Nias Island is usually merged with zosterops.


Mangroves, middle storey of forests, forest edges, tall secondary growth up to 1,200m.



Feeds on arthropods and fruits. Takes also flower nectar.
Gleans arthropods from foliage.


A solitary breeder. The nest is an open cup placed between the outer twigs of a lateral branch. No other information about breeding.


A resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., P. C. Rasmussen, T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, A. Spencer, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2023. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2023. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and D Christie, eds. 2005. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 10: Cuckoo-Shrikes to Thrushes. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334726
  3. Avibase

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.