Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Sabine's Puffback (Dryoscopus sabini)


French: Cubla à gros bec German: Dickschnabel-Schneeballwürger Spanish: Cubla de Sabine
Other common names: Large-billed Puffback

Thamnophilus sabini

J. E. Gray

, 1831,

Sierra Leone


Differs somewhat from congeners in bill morphology. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. s. sabini (J. E. Gray, 1831) – Sierra Leone E to S Nigeria.
  • D. s. melanoleucus (J. P. Verreaux & J. B. É. Verreaux, 1851) – Cameroon S, discontinuously, to N Angola and patchily in NE, C & S DRCongo.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–19 cm; male 31–44 g, female 32–39. Distinctive puffback with long, robust bill, culmen flat-convex and wide between nostrils; remiges curved, wing very... read more


    Song a series usually of 5–15 notes on descending scale, at first short, thin, clipped and... read more


    Canopy of tall primary forest, logged and secondary forests, riparian forest and swamp-forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including grasshoppers and crickets (Orthoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), moths and large caterpillars (Lepidoptera), and termites (... read more


    Almost unknown. In Liberia, enlarging gonads in Jun, Aug–Sept and Nov, and courtship display seen Aug and Oct–Nov; in Ghana,... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common to rare. Estimated densities of 2–5 pairs/km2 in Liberia and 8–10 pairs/km2 in Gabon. Uncommon in Sierra Leone,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. (2020). Sabine's Puffback (Dryoscopus sabini). 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 29 February 2020).