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Telophorus olivaceus (Olive bush-shrike) 

Olyfboslaksman [Afrikaans]; Umthethi (also applied to Black cuckooshrike - CHECK) [Xhosa]; Olijfgroene bosklauwier [Dutch]; Gladiateur olive [French]; Olivwürger [German]; Picanço-oliváceo [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Malaconotidae

Telophorus olivaceus (Olive bush-shrike)   

Olive bush-shrike male in Halleria lucida  tree, Queen Elizabeth Park, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. [photo Alan Manson ©]


For information about this species, see www.birdforum.net/opus/Olive_Bush_Shrike

Distribution and habitat

Near-endemic to southern Africa, occurring in Zimbabwe's eastern highlands bordering on Mozambique, as well as in southern Malawi. In South Africa it is fairly common, occupying the area from Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal along the coast to the Eastern and Western Capes. In Zimbabwe's eastern highlands it prefers Afromontane forest, but in South Africa it can also be found in evergreen forest, dense woodand, thickets in valley bushveld and riverine forest.

Distribution of Olive bush-shrike in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  


It mainly eats insects, doing most of its foraging in the tree canopy, gleaning insects from leaves and twigs, descending to lower levels at the forest's edge. It also regularly joins mixed species foraging flocks. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is built by both sexes, and consists of a flimsy, untidy saucer built of fine dry grass, leaf stems and dried flowers.
  • Egg-laying season is from about October-January, peaking during November.
  • It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 18 days.
  • The chicks are cared for both parents, leaving the nest after about 16-17 days.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.