Family Vangas and allies (Vangidae)

Least Concern

Common Woodshrike (Tephrodornis pondicerianus)


French: Téphrodorne de Pondichéry German: Indienvanga Spanish: Ceniciento chico

[Muscicapa] pondiceriana

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Coromandel Coast = Pondicherry, south-east India


Usually considered conspecific with T. affinis (which see). Nominate race intergrades with pallidus in NW India. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. p. pallidus Ticehurst, 1920 – Pakistan (E Baluchistan, Punjab, Sind) and NW India (from foothills S to Gujarat and NC Uttar Pradesh).
  • T. p. pondicerianus (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – India (except NW) and S Nepal and Bangladesh E to Myanmar, Thailand (except S) and C & S Laos.
  • T. p. orientis Deignan, 1948 – Cambodia and S Vietnam.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–18 cm; 18–27 g. Male nominate race has brownish-grey upperparts, including wings, with pronounced whitish supercilium, grey-brown lores, blackish-brown mask... read more


    Song an accelerating trill, “pi-pi-i-i-i-i-i-i”, usually initiated with 1–2 well-... read more


    Open dipterocarp forest, dry deciduous forest, second growth, bamboo forest, thorn scrub, Olea... read more

    Food and feeding

    Takes insects, chiefly beetles (Coleoptera), adult and larval lepidopterans, and orthopterans (grasshoppers, praying mantises),... read more


    Season mainly Feb–Jul, but Jan–Sept (especially Mar–May) in India. Monogamous. Nest built by both sexes over c. 4–5... read more


    Resident; possibly some seasonal wandering.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to common throughout its range. Widespread and common over most of Indian Subcontinent; locally fairly common in Nepal... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Common Woodshrike (Tephrodornis pondicerianus). 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 19 November 2019).