Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-crowned Gonolek (Laniarius barbarus)


French: Gonolek de Barbarie German: Goldscheitelwürger Spanish: Bubú coronigualdo

Lanius barbarus


, 1766,



Forms a clade with L. erythrogaster, based on recent molecular studies#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. b. barbarus (Linnaeus, 1766) – S Mauritania (mainly in Senegal Valley, but N to Tagant area), Senegambia and NW Guinea E to C Mali and S Niger, and S Chad, S to Liberia (Monrovia and Congo Town lagoon), N & S Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin, N, C & extreme SW Nigeria and N Cameroon.
  • L. b. helenae Kelsall, 1913 – Sierra Leone coast from near Guinea border S to Bonthe.
  • Descriptive notes

    23 cm; 44–52·5 g. Nominate race has forehead to hindneck olive-yellow, front and side of crown clearer yellow; lores, narrow line over eye, upper cheek, ear-... read more


    Pair utters precisely synchronized calls in duet. Commonest duet a loud, pure, resonant, liquid... read more


    Dense undergrowth in mesic and dry wooded savannas; thickets on large, old termite (Isoptera)... read more

    Food and feeding

    Eats insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), caterpillars and large numbers of grasshoppers and locusts (Acrididae); occasionally takes... read more


    Breeds primarily in wet season: Aug–Sept in Mauritania, Jan–Sept (mainly Jun–Aug) in Gambia; in Mali, Apr–Sept N of... read more


    Sedentary, often highly so, pair keeping to same dense thicket all year.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common or fairly common in much of range. Frequent to common throughout Senegal and Gambia, and frequent in N Guinea-Bissau; quite common in C &... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. (2019). Yellow-crowned Gonolek (Laniarius barbarus). 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 11 December 2019).