Family Hyliotas (Hyliotidae)

Least Concern

Southern Hyliota (Hyliota australis)


French: Hyliote australe German: Maschonahyliota Spanish: Hiliota austral

Hyliota australis


, 1882,

Umfuli River, Zimbabwe


Often treated as conspecific with H. usambara (which see). Form slatini, differing from others in habitat and reportedly in voice, may represent a separate species#R; further research required. Proposed race pallidipectus (Angola, SE DRCongo and Zambia) inseparable from inornata. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. a. slatini Sassi, 1915 – #RNE DRCongo (Semliki and W of L Albert S to W of L Edward), W Uganda (Bwamba Forest) and W Kenya (Kakamega and N Nandi Forests). One record from W Cameroon.
  • H. a. inornata Vincent, 1933 – Angola, SE DRCongo (S Katanga), Zambia, NW Zimbabwe, and SW Malawi S to NW Mozambique (Tete Province).
  • H. a. australis Shelley, 1882 – Zimbabwe (Plateau and E, S to Matopos Mts), C & S Mozambique (S to R Limpopo) and extreme NE South Africa (Kruger National Park, in E Northern Province).
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–13 cm; 9·5–12 g. Male nominate race is velvety black above, fluffy feathers of back and rump grey; greater and median upperwing-coverts white,... read more


    Song a rapid rhythmic twittering, broken by short pauses; call a short “tsik”.


    Undisturbed woodland, especially canopy of brachystegia (Brachystegia) and other miombo... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects. Forages singly, in pairs or in family parties, often with other species. Feeds in tops of large trees; gleans among foliage, and... read more


    Recorded in Jul–Aug and Oct in Zambia, Oct in Malawi and Aug–Jan in Zimbabwe. Monogamous; solitary, territorial. Nest a deep,... read more


    Mostly sedentary. Likely to occupy Zimbabwe lowveld only during austral winter.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Has patchy distribution, mainly in mature woodland in S tropics, where seldom common. Scarce to uncommon in the two outlying forest populations N of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Pearson, D. (2020). Southern Hyliota (Hyliota australis). 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 17 February 2020).