Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Brown-crowned Tchagra (Tchagra australis)


French: Tchagra à tête brune German: Dorntschagra Spanish: Chagra coroniparda

Malaconotus australis

A. Smith

, 1836,

north of Kurrichane, northern South Africa


Has hybridized with T. jamesi. Proposed races littoralis (Changamwe, in Kenya) and congener (Songea, in S Tanzania) included in minor, and frater (Bangwa Mts, in W Cameroon) in emini. Nine subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. a. ussheri (Sharpe, 1882) – Sierra Leone E to SW & S Nigeria.
  • T. a. emini (Reichenow, 1893) – SE Nigeria S to lower R Congo, E to N & E DRCongo, S South Sudan, Uganda, W & C Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and NW Tanzania.
  • T. a. souzae (Bocage, 1892) – SW Congo S to C Angolan Plateau (S to N Huíla), E to S DRCongo (to Upper Katanga district) and N Zambia (near Ndola).
  • T. a. ansorgei (Neumann, 1909) – W Angola (S Cuanza Norte and Luanda S along coast and escarpment to C & S Huíla and E Namibe).
  • T. a. bocagei A. A. R. Pinto, 1968 – SE Angola (C Cuando Cubango).
  • T. a. minor (Reichenow, 1887) – SE Kenya, Tanzania (except NW), Zambia (except Ndola and extreme SW), Malawi, N Zimbabwe and N & C Mozambique (S to R Save).
  • T. a. rhodesiensis (Roberts, 1932) – SE Angola (S Cuando Cubango), NE Namibia (along R Okavango E to Caprivi Strip), SW Zambia and NW Botswana.
  • T. a. damarensis (Reichenow, 1915) – extreme SW Angola, Namibia (except NE), Botswana (except NW), SW Zimbabwe (W & NW Matabeleland) and N South Africa (S to N Northern Cape and W Free State).
  • T. a. australis (A. Smith, 1836) – SE Zimbabwe (in Sabi Valley and SE lowveld), S Mozambique (Sul do Save), NE South Africa (E Limpopo S to N KwaZulu-Natal) and E Swaziland.
  • Descriptive notes

    17·5–20 cm; male 35–40 g and female 31–44 g (emini), male 30–46 g and female 30–33 g (ussheri), male 30–33 g and... read more


    Territorial song generally given in flight, preceded or accompanied by loud wing-fripping. In W... read more


    Thickets in variety of bushy, wooded savannas, mainly at low and medium altitudes. Forest-savanna... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly insects, including grasshoppers and nymphs, and crickets (Orthoptera), moths and caterpillars (Lepidoptera), tenebrionid and other... read more


    Season May–Jun in Ghana, Mar and Aug–Oct in Cameroon, Aug–Feb in Gabon, Dec in Sudan; Aug–Nov in Angola, Oct in SE... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and locally common over vast range. In S Mozambique (Sul do Save), density varies from less than 5 birds/100 ha to 8 birds/100 ha,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. (2020). Brown-crowned Tchagra (Tchagra australis). 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 29 February 2020).