African Broadbill | Smithornis capensis | Birds & Birding Southern Africa

The African Broadbill is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Pittidae bird family group which includes birds such as Pittas.

Robert's Birding Information On The African Broadbill

The description for the African Broadbill (Latin name Smithornis capensis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Smithornis capensis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 490 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 678. You will find a picture of the African Broadbill on page 705.

The African Broadbill is known as a "lifer" in the birding circles of South Africa.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the African Broadbill between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The African Broadbill has a height of 14 cms and weighs around 25 gms. The head is coloured grey, brown while the bill is coloured black. The Smithornis capensis has a white coloured throat, green legs and a grey, brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Smithornis capensis has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

African Broadbill Colours

Head is grey, brown

Eyes are brown

Bill is black

Legs are green

Throat is white

Back is grey, brown

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

African Broadbill Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

The Smithornis capensis attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

African Broadbill Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The African Broadbill is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 3 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

The African Broadbill is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests.

The African Broadbill is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.