Saturday 18 May
Uluguru bush-shrike (Malaconotus alius)
Uluguru bush-shrike fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Uluguru bush-shrike description
Regarded as one of the rarest birds in Africa (4), the Uluguru bush-shrike is a relatively large, heavy-bodied shrike with a thick, black, hook-tipped beak. The upperparts, including the wings and tail, are uniformly olive-green in colour, while the underparts are yellow, becoming more greenish on the sides and lower abdomen, and greenish-grey on the underside of the tail. The head and back of the neck are glossy black, helping to distinguish this species from other large forest shrikes, and the legs are bluish-grey (2) (3). The female Uluguru bush-shrike resembles the male, but is duller, with more greenish underparts (3). The Uluguru bush-shrike has a loud and distinctive call, consisting of a far-carrying series of three to five whistles, which rise slightly in pitch on the last notes. The calls of one individual are often answered by another (2) (3).
- Also known as
- blackcap bush-shrike, black-capped bush-shrike, Uluguru bush shrike, Uluguru bushshrike.
- Gladiateur à tête noire. Top
Tanzania Forest Conservation Group:
Eastern Arc Mountains Conservation Endowment Fund:
African Conservation Foundation: Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania:
BirdLife International Preventing Extinctions Programme:
- A very diverse phylum (a major grouping of animals) that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- Montane forest
- Forest occurring in the montane zone, a zone of cool upland slopes below the tree line dominated by large evergreen trees.
- Submontane forest
- Forest occurring at elevations just below those of montane forest.
- IUCN Red List (February, 2010)
- BirdLife International (February, 2010)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2009) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-Shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- Burgess, N., Romdal, T.S. and Rahner, M. (2001) Forest loss in the Ulugurus, Tanzania and the status of Uluguru bush shrike Malaconotus alius. Bulletin of the African Bird Club, 8: 89-90. Available at:
- BirdLife International: Uluguru bush-shrike found over the limit (February, 2010)
- Hirschfeld, E. (2008) BirdLife International: Rare Birds Yearbook. MagDig Media Limited, Shrewsbury.
- BirdLife International: Species Guardian Action Update: November 2008 - Uluguru Bush-shrike, Malaconotus alius (February, 2010)
- Bhatia, Z. and Buckley, P. (1998) The Uluguru slopes planning project: promoting community involvement in biodiversity conservation. Journal of East African Natural History, 87: 339-347.
- African Conservation Foundation: Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania (February, 2010)
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Uluguru bush-shrike biology
Very little information is available on the biology of the Uluguru bush-shrike. It feeds on large arthropods, and is thought to forage alone or in pairs, although it may also join mixed-species flocks (2) (5). Nothing is known about reproduction in this species, although breeding was suspected in Uluguru South Forest Reserve in March, and an immature bird has been seen in July (2) (3) (5).Top
Uluguru bush-shrike range
The Uluguru bush-shrike, as its name suggests, is endemic to the Uluguru Mountains of Tanzania (2) (3) (5). Until recently it was known only from the Uluguru North Forest Reserve, but in 2007 was also recorded for the first time in the nearby Uluguru South Forest Reserve (2) (5) (6).Top
Uluguru bush-shrike habitat
This species inhabits the canopy of moist montane and submontane forest, at elevations of around 1,200 to 2,100 metres. It usually prefers areas of high rainfall and little disturbance, generally between 1,200 and 1,700 metres, but has also been found in degraded forest at the edge of reserves or where tall, mature trees still remain (2) (3) (5) (7).Top
Uluguru bush-shrike status
Classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Uluguru bush-shrike threats
Despite being found to have a larger population and to occur at more sites than previously thought (2) (4) (6), the Uluguru bush-shrike is still restricted to an extremely small area, and is believed to have a total population of no more than 1,200 pairs (2) (4) (5). Much of the terrain within its range is too steep for cultivation, but, nevertheless, the main threat to this shrike remains the extensive loss of forest habitat, due to clearance for cultivation and cutting for timber and firewood. Most of this destruction has occurred at lower elevations in the submontane forest, the preferred habitat of this species (2) (3) (4) (5) (8). A further threat, introduced to the area more recently, is banana farming, with bananas planted beneath the forest canopy as a cash crop (3) (4) (9). Unfortunately, this involves clearing shrubs and thinning the trees, as well as gradually felling further trees to provide additional nutrients for the banana plants. Eventually this process destroys the forest, with the land then usually converted to subsistence maize farming (9).Top
Uluguru bush-shrike conservation
Uluguru North and Uluguru South Forest Reserves are managed as important water catchment areas for the 3.5 million people of the city of Dar-es-Salaam, and are also of high importance in terms of biodiversity (2) (5) (8) (9). There are plans underway to reconnect the two reserves and to upgrade them to the status of Nature Reserve (2) (5) (7), and a range of conservation projects are underway in the area, including work with local communities, habitat restoration, further surveys of the Uluguru bush-shrike population, and monitoring of the species’ preferred habitat (2) (7) (8) (9). The development of ecotourism may also provide an alternative source of income for local people, and an incentive to protect the forest (8) (9). Further conservation measures recommended for this rare endemic bird include additional monitoring and population estimates, increased efforts to reduce firewood and timber harvesting within the reserves, reforestation at lower elevations, raising awareness of the importance of the area, and continuing to work closely with local communities to ensure the appropriate management and sustainable utilisation of forest resources (2) (5) (8).Top
Find out more
To find out more about conservation in Tanzania and in the Uluguru Mountains, see:
For more information on efforts to conserve the world’s most endangered bird species see:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.