Family Vangas and allies (Vangidae)

Least Concern

White-crested Helmetshrike (Prionops plumatus)


French: Bagadais casqué German: Weißschopf-Brillenvanga Spanish: Prionopo crestiblanco

Lanius plumatus


, 1809,



Proposed races are adamauae (Kontcha, in NC Cameroon), included in concinnatus; melanopterus (Fer Liban, in SE Ethiopia), in vinaceigularis; and angolicus (Malanje, in N Angola), in talacoma. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. p. plumatus (Shaw, 1809) – Senegal E to N Cameroon.
  • P. p. concinnatus Sundevall, 1850 – C Cameroon E to S Sudan, NW Ethiopia, NE DRCongo and N Uganda.
  • P. p. cristatus Rüppell, 1836 – Eritrea, N, C & SW Ethiopia, E South Sudan, E Uganda and NW Kenya.
  • P. p. vinaceigularis Richmond, 1897 – Somalia, E & S Ethiopia, N & E Kenya and NE Tanzania.
  • P. p. poliocephalus (Stanley, 1814) – E Tanzania, Malawi, SE Zambia and Mozambique S to NE South Africa (N KwaZulu-Natal).
  • P. p. talacoma A. Smith, 1836 – S Uganda and C & S Kenya S to SE DRCongo, Angola, N Namibia, N & E Botswana and NE South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–25 cm; 25–49 g. Nominate race has extensive elongated (up to 45 mm) crest of greyish-white feathers on mid-crown, shorter (c. 10 mm) crest of whitish spiky... read more


    Noisy, vocalizations important in regulating intra-group social interactions; at least some calls... read more


    Breeds mainly in deciduous broadleaf savanna woodlands, including those dominated by Baikiaea... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet small invertebrates, also small reptiles, and fruit. Among invertebrates, caterpillars account for 46% of items, butterflies and moths... read more


    Egg-laying virtually throughout year, especially Mar–Nov (mainly Mar–Jul and Oct–Nov), in W Africa, mainly Feb–Jun... read more


    Largely resident, but with widespread seasonal movement out of breeding home range, including... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Frequent to common over large parts of range. Density of up to 1 group/10 ha in far S of range. In Zimbabwe, 140 home ranges 4·5–30 ha,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Allan, D. (2019). White-crested Helmetshrike (Prionops plumatus). 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 23 March 2019).