Family Vangas and allies (Vangidae)

Least Concern

Malabar Woodshrike (Tephrodornis sylvicola)


French: Téphrodorne de Malabar German: Malabarvanga Spanish: Ceniciento de Malabar

T[ephrodornis]. Sylvicola


, 1839,

Malabar Coast of western India


Usually treated as conspecific with T. virgatus, but split#R followed here, as it differs from races T. v. pelvicus, jugans, verneyi, annectens, mekongensis, hainanus and latouchei in its larger black mask (1); darker, greyer crown to tail (2; 3 vs last three named forms); and song with two notes vs one (4), slightly lower pitch (1) and generally greater overall length (ns)#R. Differs from T. v. fretensis, virgatus and frenatus in its larger black mask (1); much larger size (at least 2, on tail length probably 3); and same vocal differences as above. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

SE Gujarat (Surat Dangs) and Western Ghats (S from Goa), in W peninsular India.

Descriptive notes

16·5–18·5 cm. Large, dark woodshrike with broad dark mask, no pale supercilium, white rump and dark tail; adult has dark grey-brown upperparts and browner remiges, with white... read more


Song, which often begins with a short grating note, is a loud, ringing, slow-paced series of “ker-... read more


Edges and clearings within evergreen forest, favouring moister woodlands than sympatric T.... read more

Food and feeding

Eats large insects, also “grubs”. Usually occurs in pairs or small groups of up to 5–10 individuals; often associates with mixed-species... read more


Breeds Jan–Apr (Kerala); re-nests if first fails. Nest a shallow saucer of interwoven moss, fibres and pieces of bark, incorporating... read more


Generally resident, but some local and altitudinal movements have been reported.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally fairly common, but probably rare in Gujarat, where local extinctions suspected, even from within protected areas like Purna... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2017). Malabar Woodshrike (Tephrodornis sylvicola). 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 November 2017).