Family Ground Babblers (Pellorneidae)

Least Concern

Black-capped Illadopsis (Illadopsis cleaveri)


French: Akalat à tête noire German: Augenbrauen-Laubdrossling Spanish: Tordina capirotada
Other common names: Black-capped Thrush-babbler, Blackcap Illadopsis

Drymocataphus cleaveri


, 1874,

Fanti region, Ghana


Formerly placed in genus Trichastoma. Sister to I. albipectus#R; occasionally treated as conspecific, but plumages distinctive and ranges parapatric. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. c. johnsoni (Büttikofer, 1889) – E Sierra Leone and Liberia; populations of SE Guinea and Ivory Coast probably this race.
  • I. c. cleaveri (Shelley, 1874) – Ghana.
  • I. c. marchanti Serle, 1956 – S Nigeria.
  • I. c. batesi (Sharpe, 1901) – SE Nigeria (Obudu Plateau) and SW & S Cameroon E to SW Central African Republic, S to extreme W DRCongo (Luki Forest#R).
  • I. c. poensis Bannerman, 1934 – Bioko.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–16 cm; 22–36 g. Black cap and long pale eyebrow distinctive. Nominate race has crown blackish, hindneck grey, upperparts and head side bright rufous-brown,... read more


    Song, given all year (mainly in poor light at dawn, and in Gabon less intensively in long dry... read more


    Dense undergrowth and more open understorey of primary and mature secondary forest, Raphia... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, including termites (Isoptera), small beetles (Coleoptera), crickets (Orthoptera), spiders (Araneae), millipedes (Diplopoda)... read more


    May–Nov in Liberia and Nigeria, Jan–Feb in Ivory Coast, all year in Cameroon, and Jan–Mar and Nov in Gabon; fledgling in... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally fairly common across range. Fairly common to common in Liberia, at coast and throughout forest zone; present in Taï Forest National... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Black-capped Illadopsis (Illadopsis cleaveri). 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 18 April 2019).