Australasian Figbird  

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Sphecotheres vieilloti

Australasian Figbird

The Australasian Figbird, also known as the Green Figbird is a conspicuous, medium-sized passerine bird. It was formerly considered as a subspecies of the Green Figbird and referred to as simply the Figbird.


S. v. salvadorii (Sharpe, 1877) - Originally described as a separate species. Found in south-eastern New Guinea.

S. v. cucullatus  (Rosenberg, HKB, 1866) -  Originally described as a separate species. Found on Kai Islands (off south-western New Guinea). Possibly a junior synonym of S. v. flaviventris

S. v. ashbyi (Mathews, 1912) - Found in northern Western Australia and Northern Territory, Australia.

Yellow figbird (S. v. flaviventris) (Gould, 1850) - Originally described as a separate species. Alternatively named the Northern Figbird. Found in north-eastern Australia and Torres Strait Islands.

S. v. vieilloti (Vigors & Horsfield, 1827) - Found in eastern Australia.

This species has a total length of 10.6 - 11.6 inches. It is sexually dimorphic, and the racial differences are almost entirely limited to the male.

Males of all subspecies have a black tail with broad white tips to the outer rectrices, white crissum (the undertail coverts surrounding the cloaca), blackish primaries, a black head, distinct bright red facial skin, a black bill with a red base, and pinkish legs. Body is largely olive-green, and throat, neck and chest are gray.

Females are drab-colored, being dull brownish above, and white below with strong dark streaking. They have grayish facial skin, and a grayish-black bill.

Juveniles resemble females, but the streaking below is typically not as strong.

CALL: They make a large number of different short calls, and are also able to mimic the voice of other birds, for example parrots and other species of orioles.

SONG: Consists of a series of simple whistles.

They are largely frugivorous, but also take small insects, nectar and small seeds.

Lives in rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests, but is often found in urban parks and gardens, particularly those with figs and other fruit-producing trees.

Occurs across coastal regions of northern and eastern Australia from the Kimberley region in Western Australia around to the New South Wales/Victoria border.

Nest is a flimsy saucer-shaped structure made from plant-material, and usually placed relatively high in a tree. The female lays 2 - 4 eggs. Both sexes incubate the eggs for 16 - 17 days.



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