A new species of boubou (Malaconotidae: Laniarius) from the albertine rift

Gary Voelker, Robert K. Outlaw, Sushma Reddy, Michael Tobler, John M. Bates, Shannon J. Hackett, Charles Kahindo, Ben D. Marks, Julian C. Kerbis Peterhans, Thomas P. Gnoske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We describe Laniarius willardi, a new species of boubou shrike (Malaconotidae) from the Albertine Rift of Africa. The most conspicuous, distinguishing morphological feature of the species is a gray to blue-gray iris. This and external morphometric data indicate that L. willardi is diagnosable from other black or sooty boubous. Further, L. willardi is genetically diagnosable, and its closest relative is the Mountain Sooty Boubou (L. poensis camerunensis) from Cameroon. The Crimson-breasted Bush-shrike (L. atrococcineus) and the Lowland Sooty Boubou (L. leucorhynchus) are together the sister clade to L. willardiL.p. camerunensis. Laniarius willardi and the geographically codistributed L. p. holomelas differ by 11.5% in uncorrected sequence divergence, and elevational data taken from museum specimens suggest the possibility of elevational segregation of the species at ∼2,000 m, with L. willardi occurring at lower elevations. Our broad sampling of black and sooty boubou taxa indicate that (1) races of Mountain Sooty Boubou (L. poensis) do not form a monophyletic clade; (2) L. p. camerunensis may represent multiple, nonsister lineages; and (3) at least one race of Flleborn's Black Boubou (L. fuelleborni usambaricus) is genetically distinct from other races of that species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-689
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • Laniarius
  • Malaconotidae
  • boubou
  • shrikes


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