Blue Vanga Cyanolanius madagascarinus

Guy M. Kirwan, Satoshi Yamagishi, Josep del Hoyo, Nigel Collar, and Masahiko Nakamura
Version: 1.0 — Published March 4, 2020


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Systematics History

Blue Vanga was split into Madagascar (C. madagascarinus) and Comoros species (C. comorensis) by del Hoyo and Collar (4), although the possibility was signalled by Louette and Herremans (2) and Safford and Hawkins (1). Taxon comorensis differs (in female) from madagascarinus (scores in parentheses based on Tobias et al. 5 criteria, from del Hoyo and Collar 4) in its all violet-blue crown to basal tail versus more turquoise-blue crown shading to strong turquoise-green mantle to basal tail (3); pale blue, white-streaked head-sides with no (or vestigial) black versus rich turquoise-blue head sides with black lores, ocular area and chin (3); pure pinkish-buff versus duller, usually gray-tinged buff underparts (1); (in male) in greatly reduced black around eye and on chin (ns) and richer blue upperparts (ns[1]); and (in both sexes) slightly larger size indicated by rather longer bill (at least 1); voices similar, but that of comorensis seems to be somewhat more varied, with some notes which are less grating (at least 1).

Geographic Variation

Differences are principally expressed in size and the general color of the upperparts and underparts.


Three subspecies.


Blue Vanga (Madagascar) Cyanolanius madagascarinus madagascarinus


Madagascar (except the center and south).


Described under Plumages.


Blue Vanga (Comoro) Cyanolanius madagascarinus comorensis/bensoni


Cyanolanius madagascarinus comorensis


Mohéli (Mwali), in the west-center Comoro Islands.


Adult is larger than C. m. madagascarinus, and has top of head and all upperparts more intense blue, inner webs of inner secondaries and tertials blue (not black), lacks black smudging on rear ear-coverts, narrower black line around eye and bill, tail shorter with broader terminal black band, and bill longer and thinner. Female is more buffish below than same sex of C. m. madagascarinus, and is separated from its own male by being duller above. Juvenile is warm buff below.


Cyanolanius madagascarinus bensoni


Grand Comoro (Ngazidja), in the northwest Comoro Islands; no recent records, possibly extinct.


Very like C. m. comorensis, but bill averages shorter (2). Doubts have been expressed as to this taxon’s distinctiveness, given that the holotype (and only specimen) is an immature (6, 7). Biometrics of the sole specimen (male): wing length 86.5 mm, tail length 62.5 mm, bill length 18.5 mm, and tarsus length 21.0 mm (2).

Related Species

This species was formerly classified in Leptopterus (8), but molecular work upholds recognition of a separate genus, Cyanolanius, for this species (9, 10, 11). Cyanolanius is perhaps sister to Leptopterus (11).

Fossil History

Nothing known.

Recommended Citation

Kirwan, G. M., S. Yamagishi, J. del Hoyo, N. Collar, and M. Nakamura (2020). Blue Vanga (Cyanolanius madagascarinus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, B. K. Keeney, P. G. Rodewald, and T. S. Schulenberg, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.bluvan1.01