Family Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)

Least Concern

New Guinea Cicadabird (Edolisoma melas)


French: Échenilleur mélanure German: Stahlraupenfänger Spanish: Oruguero negro
Other common names: New Guinea Cuckooshrike, Black Cicadabird

Lanius melas


, 1828,

Dorey, north-west New Guinea


Race batantae often merged with nominate; likewise, goodsoni and meeki included in nominate by some authors#R. Species name often incorrectly given as melaena, but original name is a transliterated Greek word and thus remains invariable. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. m. waigeuense Stresemann & Paludan, 1932 – Waigeo I, off NW New Guinea.
  • E. m. batantae Gyldenstolpe & Mayr, 1955 – Batanta I (West Papuan Is).
  • E. m. melas (Lesson, 1828) – Salawati I (West Papuan Is) and N & W New Guinea (E to Astrolabe Bay and, in S, to Eilanden R).
  • E. m. tommasonis Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1903 – Yapen I, in Geelvink Bay.
  • E. m. meeki Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1903 – E New Guinea (E from Huon Gulf and Fly R).
  • E. m. goodsoni Mathews, 1928 – Aru Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    23 cm; 56–63 g. Male nominate race is entirely black with purplish gloss; iris dark brown; bill and legs black. Female is bright rufous-brown, darker on upperparts,... read more


    A loud, slow series of liquid, downslurred whistling notes, “deer” or “tieeuw... read more


    Rainforest and monsoon forest; locally also gallery and mangrove forests; normally in forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds mainly on adult and larval insects, including lepidopteran larvae; also takes fruit. Usually in pairs or in parties of up to ten... read more


    Nest-building in Nov. One nest was built by both adults, described as typical of genus, placed 27 m up and near outer foliage on sturdy... read more


    None recorded.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread on mainland, where common in lowlands but uncommon to rare at higher elevations; no information on status of island populations. Density... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2019). New Guinea Cicadabird (Edolisoma melas). 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 18 November 2019).