Family Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Least Concern

Shelley's Greenbul (Arizelocichla masukuensis)


French: Bulbul des Misuku German: Shelleybülbül Spanish: Bulbul de las Misuku

Andropadus masukuensis


, 1897,

Misuku (Masuku) Hills, 7000 feet [c. 2130 m], north-west of Lake Nyasa, Malawi


See A. montana. Race kungwensis originally described under A. tephrolaema, when that was considered conspecific with A. nigriceps. Grey-headed races (kakamegae, kungwensis) considered an incipient species and hence split in 1990#R, an arrangement still sometimes followed; but all taxa are very close morphologically, and voice of kungwensis very similar to that of roehli#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. m. kakamegae (Sharpe, 1900) – Kakamega Greenbul – E DRCongo (from SE edge of Ituri S to Mt Kabobo), SW Uganda (Kalinzu, Bwindi), SW Rwanda, W Burundi, W Tanzania (Kigoma) and W Kenya.
  • A. m. kungwensis (Moreau, 1941) – Kungwe-Mahale Mts, in W Tanzania.
  • A. m. roehli (Reichenow, 1905) – NE, C & SW Tanzania (from South Pare Mts and Usambaras S in Eastern Arc range to Songea and Njombe).
  • A. m. masukuensis (Shelley, 1897) – Shelley's Greenbul – SW Tanzania (Rungwe, Ukinga) and extreme N Malawi (Misuku Hills).
  • Descriptive notes

    16·5–17 cm; male 22–28g, female 20–25 g (kakamegae). A medium-sized, montane greenbul with distinctive foraging behaviour. Nominate race has top... read more


    Relatively little known. Race roehli has fairly loud, simple “ke-kew-ke-kew-ke”, soft,... read more


    Montane and mid-altitude forest, also gallery forest; 1000–2300 m in DRCongo, 900–2300... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods and small fruits. Fruits recorded in diet include Harungana, Maesa, Maesopsis, Renealmia,... read more


    Feb and Sept–Nov in DRCongo, in Jan–Feb, Jul–Aug and Oct–Dec in Tanzania, and in Oct–Nov in Malawi; birds in... read more


    Largely resident; some movement to lower altitudes during cold/dry seasons recorded in Tanzania (E... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally fairly common, and even locally abundant. Densities difficult to assess owing to this species’ relative lack of vocalizations; in Eastern... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fishpool, L., Tobias, J. & de Juana, E. (2019). Shelley's Greenbul (Arizelocichla masukuensis). 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 19 August 2019).