Ethiopian Boubou Laniarius aethiopicus Scientific name definitions

Hilary Fry, Peter Pyle, Peter F. D. Boesman, and Nárgila Moura
Version: 2.0 — Published June 23, 2023

Diet and Foraging


Poorly known, the description presented here based on Tropical Boubou (Laniarius major) (16, 2), which is presumably similar to Ethiopian Boubou.


Main Foods Taken

Invertebrates, fruits, and small vertebrates.

Microhabitat for Foraging

Shy and secretive, keeping inside cover, but inquisitive, even confiding, coming into the open on ground in large gardens and around game lodges. Forages mostly low down in woody vegetation and foliage, often dropping to ground, where it hops in leaf litter, turning a leaf or piece of bark when it sees an insect disappearing under it. Sometimes comes out from under bush and hunts in roadside drains or wet silt along paths. Wedges larger prey items in a fork, and uses bill to tear them apart; not known to impale prey in the wild, but a captive individual stuck pieces of meat on to branches in its aviary. Forages singly and in pairs, also in family groups.

Food Capture and Consumption

Gleans trunks, branches and foliage, but probably takes more food from the ground than from vegetation; occasionally hawks for flying insects.


Major Food items

Insects, including Orthoptera, mantises (Mantidae), termites (Isoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), caterpillars, other larvae and pupae; some small snails (Gastropoda) and small fruits; a few small vertebrates, including chameleons (Chamaeleonidae), skinks (Scincidae), geckos (Gekkonidae), amphibians, rodents, also bird eggs and nestlings; persistently raids nests of small birds, and often attacks waxbills (Estrilda).

Food Selection and Storage

Information needed.

Nutrition and Energetics

Information needed.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

Information needed.

Drinking, Pellet-Casting, and Defecation

Information needed.

Recommended Citation

Fry, H., P. Pyle, P. F. D. Boesman, and N. Moura (2023). Ethiopian Boubou (Laniarius aethiopicus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.trobou2.02