Yellow-crowned Gonolek

The Yellow-crowned Gonolek is one of those birds that you just can’t miss. The colours and its song give it away wherever it goes. Also known as the Common Gonolek, it is a medium-sized passerine bird from the bushshrike family.

Yellow Crowned gonolek
©Rob garner | Yellow-Crowned-Gonolek
Yellow Crowned gonolek
©Rob Garner | Yellow-Crowned-Gonolek

Where is the bird found?

I’m happy to say this colourful bird is found at Footsteps all year round. See our guided bird-watching trips.

Outside of our lodge, the Yellow-crowned Gonolek is found in subtropical or tropical dry forests and moist savannah regions of Africa.

It is a common resident breeding bird in equatorial Africa from Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo east to Ethiopia. It is a skulking bird and frequents dense undergrowth in forests and other wooded habitats. Source: Wikipedia

In Gambia this delightful bird is widespread and generally fairly common in forest interiors.

What does it look like?

The Yellow-crowned Gonolek is 22 cm (8.7 in) long, the adult is a vividly-coloured bird with a long tail and short wing. It has solidly black upperparts apart from its golden crown, and scarlet underneath with a buff-yellow coloured underside to its tail. The legs are dark. Sexes are similar although the young gonoleks are paler in colour so you will know the adults from the siblings.

What does it feed on?

They feed mainly on insects such as spiders, caterpillars, centipedes and also arthropods however on occasion they will take birds eggs and nestlings from their nest.

Want to know an interesting Factoid?

Although one of the most attractive birds, the Gonolek is monogamous having only one mate in its lifetime. It also lays just two eggs during its breeding cycle.

How does it sound?

While staying at Footsteps you will hear them all day long. Their song includes whistles and rattles, often sung in duet, with a fluted too-lioo overlapped by a rattling ch-chacha.

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