Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Olive Bush-shrike (Chlorophoneus olivaceus)


French: Gonolek olive German: Olivwürger Spanish: Bubú oliváceo

Lanius olivaceus


, 1809,

Algoa Bay, South Africa


Nominate race occurs in two colour morphs, which might be two formerly allopatric races beginning to intergrade; further study required. Proposed race taylori (E Mpumalanga, in NE South Africa) included in nominate. Five subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. o. bertrandi (Shelley, 1894) – S Malawi E of Shire Valley.
  • C. o. makawa Benson, 1945 – S Malawi (W of Shire Valley).
  • C. o. interfluvius (Clancey, 1969) – E Zimbabwe and WC Mozambique.
  • C. o. vitorum (Clancey, 1967) – SE Mozambique coast S from R Save.
  • C. o. olivaceus (Shaw, 1809) – E & S South Africa (from NE Limpopo S to S Western Cape), Swaziland and extreme S Mozambique.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–23 cm; male 31–39 g, female 24·5–43·5 g. Male nominate race buff morph has lores white, narrow whitish postocular superciliary stripe,... read more


    Vocal; calls all year, mainly in austral spring. Male song varied, 5–10 ringing whistles,... read more


    Coastal, lowland and montane evergreen forests up to mistforest; matted evergreen dune forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Hymenoptera, including bees, hornets and ants; also beetles (Coleoptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera), mantises (Mantidae), larvae, spiders (... read more


    Season Oct–Nov in Malawi, Oct–Jan (mainly Nov) in Zimbabwe and Nov–Dec in Mozambique; in South Africa, Nov–Feb in N... read more


    Mainly resident; evidence of altitudinal migration in Malawi and E Zimbabwe, where occurs down to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Patchily distributed in N of range; more continuous in S. In Malawi, found W of Rift Valley from Chongoni and Mt Dedza to boundary between Ntcheu and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. (2020). Olive Bush-shrike (Chlorophoneus olivaceus). 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 23 February 2020).