Family Vangas and allies (Vangidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-bellied Helmetshrike (Prionops rufiventris)


French: Bagadais à ventre roux German: Gabunbrillenvanga Spanish: Prionopo ventrirrojo

Sigmodus rufiventris


, 1853,

Mozambique; error = Gabon


Often considered conspecific with P. caniceps#R, but differs in its grey vs black chin, upper throat and submoustachial area (3); more extensive and much stronger rufous belly (3); whiter-grey or even white lores and sometimes chin (1); and smaller bill (effect size for males −2.32; score 2). Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. r. rufiventris (Bonaparte, 1853) – S Cameroon E to S Central African Republic and NW DRCongo, S to Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo and N Angola (Cabinda).
  • P. r. mentalis (Sharpe, 1884) – C & NE DRCongo and W Uganda.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–22 cm; 37–63 g. Nominate race has most of head from crown and nape down to ear-coverts, cheek and chin blue-grey, whiter on forehead, lores and around eye,... read more


    Highly vocal. Song lengthy and constant fluid "tyooyoo". Common call a harsh and strident... read more


    Primary forest, including both open-canopy and closed-canopy forest and forest on slopes; also... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet insects, e.g. beetles (Coleoptera), butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), caterpillars, cicadas (Cicadidae), grasshoppers (Orthoptera... read more


    Poorly known. Egg-laying apparently May–Jul and Nov–Dec. Likely co-operative breeder. Territorial, and all group-members... read more


    Apparently sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Frequent to common across large parts of range. Formerly occurred in Rwanda, but now extinct there. Seems to have decreased in Bwamba and Bugoma... read more

    Recommended citation

    Allan, D. (2019). Rufous-bellied Helmetshrike (Prionops rufiventris). 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 March 2019).