Family Shrikes (Laniidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-billed Shrike (Corvinella corvina)


French: Corvinelle à bec jaune German: Gelbschnabelwürger Spanish: Alcaudón Piquigualdo
Other common names: Long-tailed Shrike(!), Western Long-tailed Shrike(!)

Lanius corvinus


, 1809,

no locality = Senegal


Treated as congeneric with C. melanoleuca on basis mainly of similarities in morphology (e.g. long tail), vocal communication patterns, and social behaviour (co-operative breeding, gregariousness). Races intergrade, and intermediate individuals exist. Race caliginosa sometimes merged with affinis. Proposed race chapini (from Kavirondo, in Kenya) synonymized with affinis. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. corvina (Shaw, 1809) – extreme S Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia S to Guinea-Bissau and N Guinea, E to Burkina Faso, SW Niger and NW Nigeria.
  • C. c. togoensis Neumann, 1900 – S part of range from W Guinea and Sierra Leone E to C & E Nigeria, N Cameroon, Central African Republic, S Chad and W & C Sudan.
  • C. c. caliginosa Friedmann & Bowen, 1933 – S Bahr el Ghazal (SW Sudan).
  • C. c. affinis Hartlaub, 1857 – S Sudan, NE DRCongo, N Uganda and W Kenya.
  • Descriptive notes

    30–32 cm; 58–80 g. Large shrike with very long, graduated (graduation c. 6–8·5 cm) tail and distinctive yellow bill. Male nominate race has dark... read more


    Calls with noisy chatters, often uttered in series and simultaneously by mates (duets), or by... read more


    Mostly acacia (Acacia) savanna, but also well-wooded parks, open woodland and gardens.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Wide variety of insects, preferring mostly larger species such as grasshoppers and crickets (Orthoptera) and beetles (Coleoptera), but also... read more


    Season varies geographically; during Sahel rains from end Jun to Aug in Senegal, Jul–Oct farther S in Gambia, in most months in Ghana... read more


    Resident and partial migrant. All movements are on local scale, involving modest shift of range S... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common. Has a large range, with estimated global extent of occurrence of 3,500,000 km², and total population size believed to be large.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Yosef, R. & International Shrike Working Group (2017). Yellow-billed Shrike (Corvinella corvina). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 March 2017).