Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Albertine Sooty Boubou (Laniarius holomelas)


French: Gonolek de Jackson German: Kongorabenwürger Spanish: Bubú montano oriental

Dryoscopus holomelas

F. J. Jackson

, 1906,



Until recently treated as conspecific with L. poensis, but differs from L. p. camerunensis in its deep brown or reddish-brown vs grey iris (based on multiple labels in NHMUK, contra published description#R) (2); slightly less glossy black plumage at least on breast (constant in NHMUK series) (1); shorter bill (effect size for males −2.39, score 2); long pure whistles as typical call vs short single or double notes or rapid repetitions (3). Molecular evidence#R supports this split. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

NE & E DRCongo, W Uganda, W Rwanda and NW Burundi.

Descriptive notes

18 cm; female 38 g (n = 1). Adult male is entirely dark black with blue reflections; wing strongly decurved at tip, tail somewhat decurved at tip; iris bluish black... read more


Commonest vocalization is a loud, ringing, high-pitched whistle, “heeeeeee”, lasting 0·8 seconds,... read more


Edges of primary montane forest, gallery forest and dense low vegetation on steep slopes and in... read more

Food and feeding

Diet presumably very similar to that of L. poensis. Generally in twos, which are not necessarily male and female, often joining... read more


Little known. Bird with brood patch in Oct in Uganda; breeds Apr–May or probably Apr–Jul in DRCongo (Itombwe). Only one nest described, a... read more


Resident, or perhaps a small-scale vertical migrant.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Restricted-range species: confined to the Albertine Rift mountains EBA. Generally common and vocal, but very poorly known. Recorded... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Albertine Sooty Boubou (Laniarius holomelas). 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 17 February 2020).