Family Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)

Least Concern

Black-winged Cuckooshrike (Lalage melaschistos)


French: Échenilleur ardoisé German: Trauerraupenfänger Spanish: Oruguero alinegro
Other common names: Dark-grey Cuckooshrike, Lesser Grey Cuckooshrike

Volvocivora melaschistos


, 1836,



Along with L. melanoptera, L. polioptera, L. fimbriata, L. typica and L. newtoni, previously placed in Coracina, but genetic data#R indicate that they belong in present genus. In past, present species sometimes considered conspecific with L. fimbriata or L. melanoptera. Proposed race quyi (N Vietnam) included in saturata. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. m. melaschistos (Hodgson, 1836) – N Pakistan (Murree Hills), and Himalayas E to NE India (upper Assam), S China (SE Xizang E to NW Yunnan) and W & N Myanmar; non-breeding S to N & NE India, SE Bangladesh (Chittagongs) and NW Thailand.
  • L. m. intermedia (A. O. Hume, 1877) – C, E & SE China (Gansu E to Hebei, S to Guangxi and Guangdong); non-breeding S Myanmar, S Thailand, S Vietnam, S China and Taiwan.
  • L. m. avensis (Blyth, 1852) – SW China (Sichuan, Yunnan, S Guizhou), S & E Myanmar, N Thailand, N Laos and N & C Vietnam; non-breeding also S to S Myanmar, S Thailand and S Indochina.
  • L. m. saturata (Swinhoe, 1870) – NE & C Vietnam (E Tonkin, N & C Annam) and Hainan; non-breeding NW Thailand, S Laos, Cambodia and S Annam.
  • Descriptive notes

    19·5–24 cm; 35–42 g. A dark-looking cuckoo-shrike with relatively long, well-graduated tail. Male is overall dark iron-grey with slaty gloss, slightly... read more


    Song a series of three or more high-pitched, descending, downslurred whistles, preceded by few... read more


    Deciduous forest, also broadleaf evergreen forest, open forest, edge, groves and bamboo jungle; in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Eats insects, mainly caterpillars (Lepidoptera) but also beetles (Coleoptera) and bugs (Hemiptera); also takes some fruit. Fairly active... read more


    Nests Apr–Jul. Nest a very small cup of twigs, rootlets, fibres, bark and lichens, bound with cobwebs, placed 3–8 m above... read more


    Marked seasonal movements, both altitudinal and latitudinal. Post-breeding descent from mountains... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Very rare and local in Pakistan, frequent in Nepal, locally fairly common in India, and common in Bhutan; local in Bangladesh. Fairly... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2020). Black-winged Cuckooshrike (Lalage melaschistos). 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 28 January 2020).