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


Systematics History

Turdus aethiopicus Gmelin, 1789, Systema Naturae, Ed. 13, Vol. 1, Pt. 2, p. 824. Type locality given as "Abyssinia" [=Ethiopia] (14).

Ethiopian Boubou was formerly considered a subspecies of Tropical Boubou (Laniarius major), but genetic analyses have shown that this latter species forms a polyphyletic cryptic species complex (3), with Ethiopian Boubou not falling out with other members of the Tropical Boubou sensu lato, but instead appearing to be closely related to Turati's Boubou (Laniarius turatii). The taxonomy of the black-and-white boubous is still confused, and there are populations in coastal Kenya that may be closely related to Ethiopian Boubou and Turati's Boubou, but further work is needed to clarify the status of these birds.

Geographic Variation

Information needed.



Related Species

Full extent of relationships in Laniarius are unresolved. Molecular phylogenetic studies using DNA sequence data found that Ethiopian Boubou appears to be closely related to Turati's Boubou (3, 5). These two species appear to also be closely related to another population of Laniarius from coastal Kenya which appear to be unnamed but may refer to Zanzibar Boubou (Laniarius sublacteus) (3, 5). More work is needed to clarify the relationships among these taxa.


Information needed.


Alternately referred to as Bellbird (or Bell Shrike), along with its sister species, the Tropical Boubou (Laniarius major), due to its ringing, resonant bell-like duet song.

Fossil History

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