Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Black-headed Gonolek (Laniarius erythrogaster)


French: Gonolek à ventre rouge German: Scharlachwürger Spanish: Bubú cabecinegro

Lanius erythrogaster


, 1829,

Kordofan, Sudan


Closely related to L. barbarus, which see; see also L. atrococcineus. Monotypic.


NE Nigeria, S Chad, N & C Cameroon (S to Adamawa Plateau) and N Central African Republic E to E Sudan, W Eritrea and W Ethiopia, S to E DRCongo, N Tanzania and W Kenya; also in SE DRCongo (Lualaba Valley from about Kabalo S to L Kisale and Bukama).

Descriptive notes

20·5–21·5 cm; male 42–53 g, female 46–55 g. Top of head to below eye, ear-coverts, side of neck and upperparts, including upperwing and tail,... read more


Pair sings in duet, a loud, resonant, bell-like, disyllabic "wheeyou", "hweeu", "yoick" or "tyotyo... read more


Thornbush, wooded and bushy grasslands, thick belts of woody growth along streams and lakesides,... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, including Orthoptera and caterpillars, also some small fruits; some small lizards and bird eggs taken. Forages singly and in pairs... read more


Poorly known. Season Mar and Jun–Jul in Sudan; in Uganda, Mar–Apr in N & E and Sept–Jan and Mar–Jun (mainly Apr... read more


Resident; in Chad thought to move N in wet season.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. In Nigeria common on shores of L Chad S to R Logone inundation zone, Waza National Park and Logomani, and common in N Cameroon S to Adamawa Plateau;... read more

Recommended citation

Fry, H. (2020). Black-headed Gonolek (Laniarius erythrogaster). 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 February 2020).