Family Hyliotas (Hyliotidae)

Least Concern

Violet-backed Hyliota (Hyliota violacea)


French: Hyliote à dos violet German: Violettmantelhyliota Spanish: Hiliota violácea

Hyliota violacea

J. P. Verreaux and J. B. É. Verreaux

, 1851,



Birds supposedly of this species at Nyungwe, in Rwanda, have (both sexes) rich orangey-chestnut chin and throat much darker than the rest of the underparts, and flight calls clearly different from those in rest of species’ range#R; may represent an undescribed taxon. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. v. nehrkorni Hartlaub, 1892 – E Sierra Leone, SE Guinea, N & E Liberia, S Ivory Coast, S Ghana, S Togo (Missahohe), S Benin (Niaouli)#R and SW Nigeria.
  • H. v. violacea J. P. Verreaux & J. B. É. Verreaux, 1851 – SE Nigeria and N, W & S Cameroon S to NW & SW Congo; C & E DRCongo (Salonga National Park, R Tshuapa, Manyema, Itombwe) and SW Rwanda (Nyungwe Forest).
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 14–17 g. Rather stocky Hyliota with strong bill, shortish tail, and no white wingbar. Male nominate race has top and side of head and upperparts glossy... read more


    Song a phrase of short whistled notes, “see see su wit, see su su wit wu”; call a sharp... read more


    Forest, woodland, old plantations and cultivated clearings; mainly lowlands, but to 1100m in E... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods, mainly insects; recorded items include beetles (Coleoptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera), moths and caterpillars (Lepidoptera)... read more


    Immatures observed in Jul in Liberia. Monogamous. No other information.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Distribution very patchy. Uncommon to locally not uncommon in Liberia (common at Mt Nimba), frequent to common in Ghana, but rare to uncommon in most... read more

    Recommended citation

    Pearson, D. (2020). Violet-backed Hyliota (Hyliota violacea). 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 22 February 2020).