Lagden's bushshrike

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Lagden's bushshrike
Lithograph of adult by J.G. Keulemans
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Malaconotidae
Genus: Malaconotus
Species: M. lagdeni
Binomial name
Malaconotus lagdeni
(Sharpe, 1884)

Lagden's bushshrike (Malaconotus lagdeni) is a bird species in the bushshrike family (Malaconotidae) native to Africa. It is a stocky bird with yellow or orange-yellow underparts, olive green upperparts, a grey head and heavy bill. Two subspecies are recognised, one found in west Africa and one in central Africa.


Richard Bowdler Sharpe described the species in 1884 as Laniarius lagdeni, from a specimen collected in the vicinity of Kumasi in Ghana. However there were no further sightings of the species in this locale for the whole 20th century.[1] He named it in honour of Sir Godfrey Yeatman Lagden, an English diplomat who served as Chief Clerk to the Secretary of the State of Transvaal and Secretary to Sir Owen Lanyon.[2]

There are two disjunct populations, classified as separate subspecies: Malaconotus lagdeni lagdeni, from eastern Sierra Leone, through Liberia, Ivory Coast and southern Ghana to western Togo, and Malaconotus lagdeni centralis, in the Albertine Rift montane forests in Uganda.[3] [4] The western subspecies has more orange tinge on the underparts while the central African subspecies has none.[5][6]


Lagden's bushshrike is a stocky bird some 23 cm long with a heavy black bill. The adult male and female are similar in plumage. The upper parts, including the wings and tail, are olive-green, and the head is dark grey. The underparts are yellow, sometimes tinged orange on the breast. The tail is edged with yellow. The legs are bluish grey.[5]

Juveniles have duller plumage overall, with brownish upperparts yellow or white underparts, sometimes with some streaking, and a grey-brown bill.[5]

It can be distinguished from the fiery-breasted bushshrike as the latter species has a much redder breast and light grey head.[5]

The call has been described as a hoop hoop or a toot toot....[5][7] Others have said it is a "bell note" call, like the grey-headed bushshrike but at a higher pitch.[6] This avian vocalization has been described using the odd consonant-filled word "Chrrrr".[A] Recordings of the calls exist.[9][10][11]

Loud flapping ("fripping") of wings commonly associated.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests in west Africa to an elevation of around 700 m, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo at an elevation of 2100 to 2800 m.[5] Classified in the IUCN Red List as Near Threatened, it is becoming rare due to habitat loss.[1] One of the 1,487 bird species of eastern Africa,[12] it is considered to be a "very rare mountain forest species".[13] It is one of the 235 different species sighted at Kyabobo National Park.[14]


Lagden's bushshrike hunts large insects, such as grasshoppers, and other arthropods, as well as small vertebrates, foraging in forest canopy 10–30 m (35–100 ft) above the ground.[5][15]



  1. ^ Which is also designated as a camel driver command, and the "courting call of a Gecko."[8] Still other observers and ornithologists describe the song differently.[7]


  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2012). "Malaconotus lagdeni". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Beolens, Watkins & Grayson 2014, p. 715.
  3. ^ Westoll 1998, p. 464.
  4. ^ Briggs & Roberts 2013, pp. 68–69, 273, 287, 322.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Harris 2010, p. 212.
  6. ^ a b Stevenson & Ganshawe 2004, p. 476.
  7. ^ a b Borrow & Demey 2013, p. 274.
  8. ^ Conley 2009, pp. 42–43.
  9. ^ Sucaet, Ryan. "Lagden's Bush-shrike, Malaconotus lagdeni centralis Recording AV#7239." (Audio). Uganda: Bwindi National Park, Ruhija Gate (−1.07, 29.758): Avian Vocalizations Center, Michigan State University. Retrieved February 10, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Malaconotus-lagdeni". Cornell Lab of Ornithology Macaulay Library Cornell University. Retrieved February 10, 2017. 
  11. ^ Sinclair, Ian (1990). "Lagden's Bushshrike – Malaconotus lagdeni" (Audio). Ivory Coast: Cornell Lab of Ornithology Macaulay Library Cornell University. Retrieved February 10, 2017. 
  12. ^ van Perlo 2009, p. 180.
  13. ^ Williams & Arlott 1988, p. 283.
  14. ^ Parks and Reserves of Ghana: Management Effectiveness Assessment of Protected Areas (PDF). IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature. 2010. pp. 16–17. Retrieved February 10, 2017. There are at least 235 different species of birds in Kyabobo. Lagden's bush shrike Malaconotus lagdeni is listed as globally “Near Threatened” and is a new record for Ghana 
  15. ^ del Hoyo, Elliott & Sargatal 2009, pp. 68, 83.



Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]