Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Many-coloured Bush-shrike (Chlorophoneus multicolor)


French: Gonolek multicolore German: Vielfarbenwürger Spanish: Bubú multicolor

Laniarius multicolor

G. R. Gray

, 1845,

no locality = Accra, Ghana


Closely related to and possibly conspecific with C. nigrifrons. Occurs in five basic colour morphs with additional six variants, present in varying proportions throughout range and interbreeding freely. Although geographical variation partly obscured by polymorphism, several characters enable differentiation of races. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. multicolor (G. R. Gray, 1845) – Sierra Leone, SE Guinea and Liberia E, discontinuously, to W Cameroon (Mt Cameroon).
  • C. m. batesi Sharpe, 1908 – patchily in S Cameroon, NE Gabon, NW & SW Congo, NW Angola, Central African Republic, NE DRCongo (Ituri) and W Uganda (Kibale).
  • C. m. graueri (E. J. O. Hartert, 1908) – montane forests of E DRCongo (Kivu S to Itombwe), SW Uganda and W Rwanda (Nyungwe).
  • Descriptive notes

    18–20 cm; male 43–61 g and female 46–54 g (nominate), male 38–41 g and female 36–39 g (batesi), male all 41 g and female 36–39 g... read more


    Male song a short, hollow whistle, "hoh" or "whoup", sometimes disyllabic, "huwo", "hooui" or "... read more


    Primary lowland and submontane rainforest, to 1100 m in W Africa (Mt Nimba, Mt Cameroon) and to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, often large ones, including grasshoppers (Orthoptera), mantises (Mantidae), stick-insects (Phasmida), bugs (Hemiptera), beetles (... read more


    Assorted evidence of breeding in Jul–Jan and Mar–Apr in Liberia, roughly Oct–Apr in Gabon and Angola, about Dec in Uganda... read more


    Generally sedentary; in Mali a visitor in May–Jun wet-season.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common. Very patchily distributed, but shy, skulking and unobtrusive; may have more continuous range than is currently realized. In Mali,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. (2020). Many-coloured Bush-shrike (Chlorophoneus multicolor). 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 27 February 2020).