Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Red-naped Bush-shrike (Laniarius ruficeps)


French: Gonolek à nuque rouge German: Rotnackenwürger Spanish: Bubú nuquirrojo

Dryoscopus ruficeps


, 1885,

Burao, Somalia


Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. r. ruficeps (Shelley, 1885) – NW Somalia.
  • L. r. rufinuchalis (Sharpe, 1895) – EC, S & SE Ethiopia, C & S Somalia (except SE coast) and NE & SE Kenya.
  • L. r. kismayensis (Erlanger, 1901) – S Somalia coastal lowlands and adjacent E Kenya (Kiunga).
  • Descriptive notes

    18–19 cm; one male 35 g, female 29–33·4 g. Male nominate race has forehead black, crown, nape and hindneck bright orange-rufous or rufous-red, well-defined... read more


    Not well known; varied, described as creaking (like sound of fishing reel), and harsh cawing very... read more


    Dense, impenetrable thornbush, in NW Somalia particularly Acacia orphota, and open thorn-... read more

    Food and feeding

    Adult and larval insects. Forages on ground and lower branches in thickets, where it hunts silently, moving rapidly but furtively;... read more


    Poorly known. Season May. Solitary breeder; possibly at times loosely colonial, with old (1920) record of 14 individuals found at Kyal, in... read more


    Resident; may move locally.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Patchily distributed, and uncommon to locally common. In Somalia, present in NW in Burao region, common at Kyal, and patchily distributed from coast... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. (2020). Red-naped Bush-shrike (Laniarius ruficeps). 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 21 February 2020).