Great-billed Parrot 33–43 cm. Enormous bill red
; head, nape, and mantle bright green, shading to pale blue on back and rump and to yellowish on underparts, with yellow flanks, underwing-coverts
and across undersides of flight-feathers; scapulars and lesser wing-coverts black, median wing-coverts black-edged yellow; greater wing-coverts and secondaries green edged yellow; primaries blue; tail above green-tipped yellow, below yellowish. Immature lacks black at the shoulder. Nominate apparently has two types of variation, which has led to the establishment of several supererogatory subspecies: in one, margins of flight-feathers are green instead of blue, (hence “viridipennis” of Tukangbesi, Madu and Kalaotoa Are, and “djampeae” of Tanahjampea and Kalao, all S of Sulawesi); in other, undersides somewhat greener (again in “djampeae” and in “Floris” of Flores). Race affinis
has bluish tinge to head, green scapulars, lesser wing-coverts greenish-blue; subaffinis
with rump very pale blue, underwing-coverts bluish; hellmayri like affinis but with yellowish-green head, greener wing covert edges; sumbensis
like nominate but head darker green, underparts greener, rump darker blue.
Editor’s Note: This article requires further editing work to merge existing content into the appropriate Subspecies sections. Please bear with us while this update takes place.
Possibly forms a species pair with T. lucionensis. Nominate race exhibits much variation, some apparently clinal; now considered to include proposed races viridipennis, djampeae, floris, obiensis, batchianensis, fuliginosus and insularum. Five subspecies are currently recognized.
Tanygnathus megalorynchos megalorynchos Scientific name definitions
Tanygnathus megalorynchos affinis Scientific name definitions
Tanygnathus megalorynchos sumbensis Scientific name definitions
Tanygnathus megalorynchos hellmayri Scientific name definitions
Tanygnathus megalorynchos subaffinis Scientific name definitions
Editor’s Note: Additional distribution information for this taxon can be found in the ‘Subspecies’ article above. In the future, we will develop a range-wide distribution article.
Primary and secondary lowland evergreen forest, preferably with a rather open structure and with a scattering of large deciduous trees, but also Casuarina forest, mangroves, plantation edge, and garden areas in lowlands. A small-island specialist, being confined on larger islands to coastal areas and adjacent foothills. Birds may go to roost in higher parts of islands, returning early each morning to lowlands.
Apparently often travels between adjacent small islands, but this is presumably generally only a very local phenomenon.
Diet and Foraging
The fruit of Sonneratia alba is reportedly much favoured, also Canarium Vulgare and casuarinas; a green lemon-sized fruit reportedly important, the birds travelling from island to island in search of it. Apparently visits corn crops.
Sounds and Vocal Behavior
Quite vocal. Most calls involve repeated loud nasal squawks or screeches, e.g. “kee-aw…kee-aw..” or “krah…krah..”, but also gives complex modulated notes such as piercing whistles with a grating end.
Nest-sites apparently occupied, Aug–Sept; Aug–Sept on Sumba. Nest in a hole in a very tall deciduous tree. No information on clutch size, but one egg laid in captivity measured 38·8 mm × 28·4 mm.