Laniarius is a genus of brightly coloured, carnivorous passerine birds commonly known as boubous or gonoleks. Not to be confused with the similar-sounding genus Lanius, they were formerly classed with the true shrikes in the family Laniidae, but they and related genera are now considered sufficiently distinctive to be separated from that group as the bush-shrike family Malaconotidae.
This is an African group of species which are found in scrub or open woodland. They are similar in habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush. Although similar in build to the shrikes, these tend to be either colourful species or largely black. Some species are also quite secretive.
Taxonomy and systematics
The closest relatives of the genus appear to be the genus Chlorophoneus. Previously, members of the genus Laniarius had been classified on the basis of plumage. However, a 2008 molecular study found that the species had developed different colours and patterns in plumage independently and similar-coloured species were often unrelated. The authors hypothesized that the ancestor of the genus may have been dark-coloured.
- Lowland sooty boubou (Laniarius leucorhynchus)
- Mountain sooty boubou (Laniarius poensis)
- Willard’s sooty boubou (Laniarius willardi Voelker & Gnoske, 2010)
- Fuelleborn's boubou (Laniarius fuelleborni)
- Slate-colored boubou (Laniarius funebris)
- Lühder's bushshrike (Laniarius luehderi)
- Braun's bushshrike (Laniarius brauni)
- Gabela bushshrike (Laniarius amboimensis)
- Red-naped bushshrike (Laniarius ruficeps)
- Black boubou (Laniarius nigerrimus) – includes the "Bulo Burti boubou" ("L. liberatus")
- Ethiopian boubou (Laniarius aethiopicus)
- Tropical boubou (Laniarius major)
- East Coast boubou (Laniarius sublacteus)
- Southern boubou (Laniarius ferrugineus)
- Swamp boubou (Laniarius bicolor)
- Turati's boubou (Laniarius turatii)
- Yellow-crowned gonolek Laniarius barbarus)
- Papyrus gonolek (Laniarius mufumbiri)
- Black-headed gonolek (Laniarius erythrogaster)
- Crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus)
- Yellow-breasted boubou (Laniarius atroflavus)
Formerly, some authorities also considered the following species (or subspecies) as species within the genus Laniarius:
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- Vieillot, Louis Jean Pierre (1816). Analyse d'une Nouvelle Ornithologie Elementaire (in French). Paris: Deterville/self. p. 41.
- Nguembock, Billy; Fjeldså, Jon; Couloux, Arnaud; Pasquet, Eric (2008). "Phylogeny of Laniarius: Molecular data reveal L. liberatus synonymous with L. erlangeri and "plumage coloration" as unreliable morphological characters for defining species and species groups". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 48 (2): 396–407. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.04.014. PMID 18514549.
- "Batises, woodshrikes, bushshrikes & vangas « IOC World Bird List". www.worldbirdnames.org. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
- Australia, Atlas of Living. "Pachycephala (Alisterornis) rufiventris rufiventris | Atlas of Living Australia". bie.ala.org.au. Retrieved 2017-02-06.