Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Swamp Boubou (Laniarius bicolor)


French: Gonolek à ventre blanc German: Sumpfwürger Spanish: Bubú bicolor

Dryoscopus bicolor


, 1857,



See L. ferrugineus. Overlaps in range with L. aethiopicus around Chobe–Zambezi confluence, where the two occupy different habitats, but have hybridized#R; differs from L. ferrugineus in morphology (larger size but lighter weight, less robust bill) and in voice and habitat. Races intergrade, but sticturus moderately distinctive, and reference in HBW to a difference in song in S of range (presumably sticturus) suggests that further study may be useful. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. b. bicolor (Hartlaub, 1857) – Gabon Boubou – W Cameroon S to Gabon and extreme NW Angola (coastal Cabinda).
  • L. b. guttatus (Hartlaub, 1865) – Congo S to W Angola (S to near Lubango).
  • L. b. sticturus Hartlaub & Finsch, 1870 – Okavango Boubou – interior of S Angola E to W Zambia, NE Namibia and N Botswana; recorded in extreme NW Zimbabwe#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    23–25 cm; male 52–65 g and female 45–57 g (guttatus), male 48–57 g and female 43–58 g (sticturus). Nominate race is glossy... read more


    In S of range song a synchronous or overlapping duet, male uttering soft but ringing, fluty "... read more


    In Cameroon, found in stunted mangroves with small areas of drier ground surrounded by tidal... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, including moths and caterpillars (Lepidoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera) including cicadas (Cicadidae), also... read more


    Immature in Jun in Cameroon; pairs duetting Oct–Jan and May in Gabon; eggs in Aug–Nov and Jan–Apr (mainly Nov, once Jun)... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common. In Cameroon, small population on coast near Tiko, and pair sighted near Bibundi, on Mt Cameroon; occurs on Gabon coast in R Ogoou... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. (2020). Swamp Boubou (Laniarius bicolor). 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).