Black-and-red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos Scientific name definitions

Guy M. Kirwan, Josep del Hoyo, Murray D. Bruce, and Nigel Collar
Version: 2.0 — Published March 12, 2021


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Breeding biology is rather well known in comparison to other Asian broadbill species, although most data stem from studies and anecdotal observations in Malaysia with, for example, almost no published information from Indochina or southwest Myanmar.


From Peninsular Malaysia, most nest records are in the driest months (January–August). While Lambert and Woodcock (1) postulated that this is likely an adaptive preference to reduce the chance of water level rise inundating nests, Wells (2) suggested that such a claim would require far more data that take into account the regional climate variations found throughout the peninsula. Dates of egg clutches on the peninsula span late February to mid-August (13). In southeast Thailand, nests with eggs have been found in May and June, while in Tenasserim (Myanmar), nests with young have been observed between April and June, with a single record of a nest containing four eggs on 25 February (1). Available data for the Greater Sunda Islands also suggest a preference for breeding in the driest months: On Borneo, nests have been found between December and August (40, 58, 52, 46, 47, 48), while on Sumatra, eggs have been collected between March and June (36), which also correlates to a drier part of the year. There are apparently few published nesting data from Indochina: an adult in Cochinchina (Vietnam) was flushed from a nest in June, while an occupied nest in southern Laos was observed in May (1), both at the end of the local dry season.

Nest Site

Site Characteristics

Almost invariably overhanging water and very conspicuous. Usually over forest pools, streams, and rivers, more scarcely over coastal slacks, tidal mangroves, and even manmade drainage ditches (59 , 52, 47). Rarely, nests are built overhanging roads or paths, once in a rubber tree far from water on Borneo (47). Birds typically fix their nests to thin, flexible, spiked branches or liana shoots, including Acacia pennata and Bambusa sp., at a height of 1.5–20.0 m (usually 2.5–8.0 m). A study along the Tahan River, Peninsular Malaysia, found that nests were most commonly sited along faster-flowing stretches of water (1).


Construction Process

Built by both sexes, work sometimes taking up to 49 days, but takes on average 11 days (60, 13, 52, 1, 3). During the construction of a nest on Borneo, one adult was observed to remain in the nest while its mate collected material and added to the nest (1).

Structure and Composition

Very distinctive. A conspicuous ragged, bag- or pear-shaped structure with a dangling ‘tail’ of material, constructed of tightly interwoven grasses, vines, sticks, bark strips, leaves, creepers, vegetable fibers, rootlets, fungal hyphae, and pieces of moss (3 ). Its interior is typically lined with, e.g., reed-grass or palm fronds, and the base is covered with green leaves and other softer material; the side entrance hole has a ‘roof’ of grass or fibers (61, 1).


Nest much smaller than that of Dusky Broadbill (Corydon sumatranus). Measurements, from Zubkova (3): outside height 25–46 cm (mean 33.2 cm, n = 14), outside width 14.7–31.0 cm (mean 20.6 cm, n = 15), diameter of entrance 3.8–6.5 cm (mean 5.5 cm, n =10), height of nest chamber 9.5–13.0 cm (mean 11.3 cm, n = 7), diameter of nest chamber 6–9 cm (mean 7.6 cm, n = 7), depth of nesting hollow 4–7 cm (mean 5.75 cm, n = 6). Mass 59.7–181.9 g (mean 106.4 g, n = 6).



Size: 25.0–29.3 × 18.2–20.7 mm (n = 24) (60).

Color and Surface Texture

Color is whitish to pinkish with dense reddish-brown blotches all over, but concentrated at the larger end (47), while others have only a sparse scattering of brick red spots. A third egg type, with sparse black spots, has been reported (61, 60, 2).

Clutch Size

Most data from the Malay Peninsula, where clutch size is typically three (occasionally with a fourth, runt egg, and rarely two), but on Borneo (in Sabah), two is apparently the usual clutch (47).

Egg Laying

Eggs are reportedly laid at 24-hour intervals (61).


Incubation Period

Period is not reported (1).

Parental Behavior

Poorly known, but the male probably shares the task of incubation (60).

Young Birds

Not described and the fledging period is unknown (1, 2).

Parental Care

Nothing reported (1, 2).

Recommended Citation

Kirwan, G. M., J. del Hoyo, M.D. Bruce, and N. Collar (2021). Black-and-red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (M. A. Bridwell and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.barbro1.02