Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Slate-coloured Boubou (Laniarius funebris)


French: Gonolek ardoisé German: Schieferwürger Spanish: Bubú fúnebre

Dryoscopus funebris


, 1863,

Meninga [Unyamwesi area of “Tanganyika Territory”], west-central Tanzania


Race degener intergrades with nominate in coastal regions, S Kenya and NE Tanzania (E of Mt Kilimanjaro); species sometimes treated as monotypic. Proposed race atrocoeruleus (NE Ethiopia and N Somalia) included in nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. f. funebris (Hartlaub, 1863) – NW Somalia and S through C Ethiopia to SE South Sudan, SW & extreme E Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
  • L. f. degener Hilgert, 1912 – C & S Ethiopia and S Somalia, SE Kenya and NE Tanzania (E of Mt Kilimanjaro).
  • Descriptive notes

    18·5–20 cm; male 33–50 g, female 23–55 g. Nominate race has whole head, neck and throat glossy jet-black, grading posteriorly into dark blue-grey on... read more


    Loud, varied; male and female generally sing in antiphonal duet with gong-like notes, ringing fluty... read more


    Semi-arid thornbush and acacia (Acacia) savanna woodland, mainly below 1500 m; from sea-... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly invertebrates, including grasshoppers (Orthoptera), mantids (Mantidae), beetles (Coleoptera), caterpillars, termites (Isoptera),... read more


    Season Apr–Jul in Ethiopia, Apr–May and Oct in Somalia, Nov in Uganda; in Kenya, breeds in long and short rains, Mar–Nov... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common in SE Sudan (SE of Torit), and occurs between Boya Hills and NE Uganda and NW Kenya. In Ethiopia, common in Rift Valley and to E, in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. (2020). Slate-coloured Boubou (Laniarius funebris). 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 February 2020).