Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike (Malaconotus cruentus)


French: Gladiateur ensanglanté German: Blutbrustwürger Spanish: Gladiador cruento

Vanga cruenta


, 1832,

#R, Cape of Good Hope; error = Cape Coast, Ghana


Largely sympatric with M. lagdeni, so the two are best regarded as separate species; nominate race of M. monteiri has been thought to be a colour morph of present species. Geographical variation not understood; of five races named, based on extent and depth of orange or red suffusion of breast, and on size (slightly decreasing from W to E), only “nominate” (Sierra Leone E to SE Nigeria), gabonensis (SW Cameroon and Gabon) and adolfifriederici (Congo, S Central African Republic, N & E DRCongo and W Uganda) may be worthy of recognition. Most or all populations exhibit individual variation in amount of yellow/orange/red/scarlet below, and species probably polymorphic, rather than polytypic. Treated as monotypic.


Sierra Leone and SE Guinea E, discontinuously, to SE Nigeria, SW & S Cameroon, Gabon, N & SW Congo, S Central African Republic, N & E DRCongo (S to Itombwe) and W Uganda (Semliki Forest).

Descriptive notes

23–25·5 cm; male 68–79·5 g, female 70–91 g. A large, powerful bush-shrike with a heavy, hooked bill, a deep indentation in cutting edge behind... read more


Song 4–10 short, resonant, hollow-sounding "hoh" notes, like voice of Hairy-... read more


Lowland forest from sea-level to 1500 m, less commonly to 1900 m (in DRCongo). In Liberia, primary... read more

Food and feeding

Eats beetles (Coleoptera), cicadas (Cicadidae), grasshoppers and crickets (Orthoptera), mantises (Mantidae), butterflies and moths and... read more


Few data. In W Africa calls all year (mainly Sept–Apr), breeding apparently Jun–Apr, with oviduct eggs in Jun and Nov in... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon in limited ranges in Sierra Leone and Guinea (Ziama Massif), but in Liberia frequent S of 7° N and locally common in N, where common at... read more

Recommended citation

Fry, H. (2020). Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike (Malaconotus cruentus). 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).