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Dryoscopus gambensis.jpg
Displaying D. gambensis male
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Malaconotidae
Genus: Dryoscopus
F. Boie, 1826

Dryoscopus is a genus of bird in the Malaconotidae or bushshrike family. The six species of fairly uniform appearance and habits, are all native to various parts of sub-Saharan Africa.[1] The name Dryoscopus is a compound Greek word: drus from the Greek word for "tree" and skopos, meaning "watcher or lookout".[2]

Structure and habits[edit]

They are small, active bushshrikes that show a superficial resemblance to boubous. They however display only rudimentary duetting, have red or reddish irides, are smaller and compact with bouncy flight, and display sexual dimorphism.[3] Characteristically, the long, loose and pale feathers of the male bird's back and rump are puffed out conspicuously during display. At the same time he may fly about, calling loudly.[4] Comparable habits are found in some related genera (cf. Bocagia, Bias, Lanioturdus, Batis and Dyaphorophyia).[5]

They move about in pairs in the upper strata of trees (Pringle's excepting) and may join mixed-species flocks.[4] They command a varied repertoire of explosive and fricative whistles, percussive clicking sounds, and harsh rasping, churring or tearing sounds.[5] Three species have a rasping alarm call (cubla, senegalensis and pringlii), while the remaining three (gambensis, angolensis and sabini) have a stuttering alarm call. Wing fripping and bill snapping complement vocal communication. The nest is a neat compact cup in the general fashion of bushshrikes, but similar to those of shrike-flycatchers. Courtship feeding is present, and studied species are monogamous and single-brooded.


DNA-DNA hybridization studies suggest that genus Tchagra is their closest relative, though biological traits also link them to Laniarius, shrike-flycatchers (i.e. Bias and Megabyas) and other genera.[5]


The genus contains the following six species:[6]



  1. ^ Monroe, Jr., Burt L.; Sibley, Charles G. (1997). A World Checklist of Birds. New Haven, CT, USA: Yale University Press. pp. 213–4. ISBN 978-0-300-07083-5. 
  2. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Names. London, UK: Christopher Helm. p. 141. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 
  3. ^ a b Sinclair, Ian; Ryan, Peter (2010). Birds of Africa south of the Sahara (2nd ed.). Cape Town: Struik Nature. p. 580-581. ISBN 9781770076235. 
  4. ^ a b Terry Stevenson; John Fanshawe (2004). Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi. Helm Field Guides. p. 472. ISBN 0713673478. 
  5. ^ a b c Harris, Tony; Franklin, Kim (2000). Shrikes & bush-shrikes: including wood-shrikes, helmet-shrikes, flycatcher-shrikes, philentomas, batises and wattle-eyes. London: C. Helm. pp. 35–46. ISBN 9780713638615. 
  6. ^ ""ITIS Report: Dryoscopus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 20 October 2014.