Family Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)

Least Concern

Black Cuckooshrike (Campephaga flava)


French: Échenilleur à épaulettes jaunes German: Kapraupenfänger Spanish: Oruguero hombroamarillo

Campephaga flava


, 1817,

South Africa


Close to C. petiti and C. phoenicea. Possible hybridization with C. petiti in NW Angola and E DRCongo (L Kivu) suggested on basis of observations of females or young males having barred underparts with strong yellow wash. Where breeding range overlaps with that of C. phoenicea (SW Ethiopia and W Kenya), no intermediate males reported; some females of present species from C & E Kenya (outside range of C. phoenicea) have yellow in tail intermediate in extent between typical females of the two species; in areas where both species occur, all three female tail patterns are found, but differences not clearly enough defined to point to further intergradation, although interbreeding may indeed occur. Monotypic.


S South Sudan and SW Ethiopia S to Uganda and Kenya, thence S to S DRCongo, Angola, N Namibia, N & E Botswana and N South Africa and Swaziland, S along coast to Western Cape; recorded, probably as migrants, in S Somalia#R.

Descriptive notes

19–22 cm; 27–40 g. Male is black, glossed greenish-blue; often has yellow lesser upperwing-coverts forming patch at bend of wing; iris blackish; bill black, gape... read more


Often silent, but sometimes a high-pitched, penetrating, insect-like trill, “krrreee”,... read more


Can occur in virtually any woodland or forest habitat, from acacia (Acacia), mopane (... read more

Food and feeding

Food primarily insects, mainly lepidopterans (especially caterpillars, including hairy ones), also termite alates (Isoptera), and... read more


Breeds mainly during rains: in Apr in Ethiopia, Mar–May in Kenya, Dec–Feb and Apr–May in Tanzania, Oct in Zanzibar; Oct... read more


Resident, nomadic or migratory. Local appearances often irregular. In S Africa, breeds in plateau... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread; probably common but status difficult to ascertain, as probably under-recorded owing to its unobtrusiveness. Generally regarded as... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. (2020). Black Cuckooshrike (Campephaga flava). 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 February 2020).