Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Bokmakierie (Telophorus zeylonus)


French: Gonolek bacbakiri German: Bokmakiriwürger Spanish: Bubú silbón

Turdus zeylonus


, 1766,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Sometimes placed in Chlorophoneus, but differs in lack of mouth spots and in nest structure, egg coloration, semi-terrestrial habits, and communication behaviour. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. z. phanus (E. J. O. Hartert, 1920) – SW Angola (arid coastal plain) and NW Namibia (Kaokoveld).
  • T. z. thermophilus Clancey, 1960 – Namibia (S from c. 21° S), SW & SE Botswana and W & N South Africa (E to Limpopo and W Free State).
  • T. z. zeylonus (Linnaeus, 1766) – E & S South Africa (C & E Free State and KwaZulu-Natal S to SE Western Cape), Swaziland and Lesotho.
  • T. z. restrictus Irwin, 1968 – Chimanimani Mts, on Zimbabwe–Mozambique border.
  • Descriptive notes

    22–24 cm; male 57–71 g, female 48–76 g. Nominate race has grey forehead to hindneck, well-demarcated bright yellow superciliary stripe from bill to above or... read more


    Song loud, liquid, far-carrying, generally by two paired individuals in antiphonal duet; twelve or... read more


    Bushes and thickets with plenty of quite open ground around. Thickets in open grassland, bushy and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly invertebrates, including longhorn and shorthorn grasshoppers (Orthoptera), stick-insects (Phasmida), heteropteran bugs, mantises (... read more


    Season lengthy in South Africa, mainly Aug–Nov (but clutches in all months except Apr) in Limpopo, Sept–Mar in KwaZulu-Natal,... read more


    Resident. Longest distance covered by ringed individual 5 km.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common within its large range. Not uncommon in Angola from Lobito Bay S to R Cunene; occasional in Iona National Park. Widespread in W &... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. (2020). Bokmakierie (Telophorus zeylonus). 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 21 February 2020).