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Pied Puffbird - BirdForum Opus

Notharchus tectus

Includes: Lesser Pied Puffbird; Greater Pied Puffbird


14 - 17 cm. A strikingly patterned Puffbird.

  • Glossy black upperparts, white below
  • Dark bare patch behind eye
  • Small white spots on black crown
  • White supercilium, broad black eyestripe
  • Broad black pectoral band
  • Black flank patches lightly barred white
  • Black bill

Sexes similar, immatures duller, browner above and white areas tinged buff.

Similar species

Can be confused with White-necked Puffbird which is much bigger, has a bigger bill and a white forehead.


Central and South America
Central America: Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama
South America: Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil


Split into two species by HBW alive: Greater Pied Puffbird (tectus and picatus) and Lesser Pied Puffbird (subtectus).


  • N. t. subtectus:
  • N. t. picatus:
  • N. t. tectus:


Found in tropical lowland evergreen forest, forest edges, clearings and streamsides, second growth, mangroves, woodland and savanna.
Occurs in lowlands up to 1000 m, below 300 m in Costa Rica.



Feeds on dragonflies, orthoptera, bugs, butterflies and moths, bees and wasps, bettles, termites and spiders. Forages from an open or a dead branch, usually high up in the canopy. Perches motionless for long periods.


Breeding recorded in May in Costa Rica, June in Panama, February to August in Colombia, September in Suriname, March to May in French Guiana. The nest is placed in a hole, excavated in an arboreal termitarium, 4 to 25 m above the ground (in one case just 2 m). Lays 2 eggs.


Probably a resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2016)

Recommended Citation

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