Family Vangas and allies (Vangidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike (Prionops scopifrons)


French: Bagadais à front roux German: Braunstirn-Brillenvanga Spanish: Prionopo frentirrufo

Sigmodus scopifrons

W. K. H. Peters

, 1854,



Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. s. keniensis (van Someren, 1923) – C Kenya (Meru and Ngaia Forests).
  • P. s. kirki (W. L. Sclater, 1924) – S Somalia (Boni Forest), coastal Kenya and NE Tanzania.
  • P. s. scopifrons (W. K. H. Peters, 1854) – coastal SE Tanzania, E Mozambique and extreme E Zimbabwe.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–18 cm; 20–40 g. Smallest member of family. Nominate race has slight, neat chestnut crest on forehead, forecrown light grey, lores white, upper chin sometimes... read more


    Highly vocal and many calls similar to those of sympatric P. retzii, e.g. whistled song of... read more


    Mainly lowland and riverine forest and adjacent Brachystegia woodland, occasionally... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet insects, e.g. ant-lions (Myrmeleontidae), beetles (Coleoptera), caterpillars, grasshoppers (Orthoptera) and moths (Lepidoptera), as... read more


    Egg-laying Dec–Jul (peak Jan–Apr) in N of range and Oct–Dec in S. Co-operative breeder, all group-members assisting in... read more


    Appears to be mainly resident; evidence of some post-breeding wandering in S of range.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common within relatively small and highly fragmented range; numbers decreasing. In Mozambique, uncommon S of R Save but common N of it.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Allan, D. (2019). Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike (Prionops scopifrons). 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 22 March 2019).