• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Sombre Greenbul - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies importunus
Photo © by max1
Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Town South Africa, 1 October 2017
Andropadus importunus


Length 15–17·5 cm (6-6¾ in)

Adult subspecies insularis
Photo © by Valéry Schollaert
Mkumbara, Mombo, Tanzania, 23 September 2010


  • Dull grey olive-green plumage
  • Paler underparts
  • White iris

Sexes are similar


Like adult but brighter yellow below, olive-green wash across breast, richer olive-green above, and have dark eyes.

Similar Species

Northern and eastern races are very yellow below and could be confused with Yellow-bellied Greenbul which differs in its dark red, not white iris.


Eastern Africa from Ethiopia to southern South Africa.


Other former members of this genus have been moved to other genera leaving this species the sole member of Andropadus.


This is a polytypic species with four subspecies:[1]

  • A. i. insularis
  • Southern Somalia to Kenya and northern Tanzania; Manda Island.
  • Slightly smaller than nominate; paler with brownish-olive upperparts, darker tail, pale yellow belly and undertail coverts.
  • A. i. hypoxanthus
  • A. i. oleaginus
  • A. i. importunus
  • North-eastern, south-eastern and southern South Africa
  • Gray underparts and dull olive-green back.


Thick coastal bush, evergreen forest and dry shrubland and wooded gardens.



They tend to sit still high in the canopy blending into the vegetation.


The diet consists mostly of berries and other fruit, with the addition of insects and small snails.


Courtship display includes head bobbing, raised head and nape feathers and wing quivering by both partners. Monogamous. Nest built by female is rather flimsy, thin-walled, shallow cup made of dry grass, twigs, rootlets, lichen and lined with finer plant fibers and sometimes hair. Clutch is 1-3 eggs, usually two; incubation by female.


This species sings loudly and persistently from high in the canopy but can be maddeningly difficult to see. '*Call' a penetrating rising "willie." '*Song' given throughout the year is is a distinctive piercing "weeeweee" followed by a liquid chortle.


Sedentary. Flocks may wander locally in search of food.


Click on photo for larger image


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Fishpool, L. & Tobias, J. (2018). Sombre Greenbul (Andropadus importunus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/57973 on 25 June 2018).
  3. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533
  4. Sinclair, I., Hockey, P.A.R., and Arlott, N. (2005). The Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town. ISBN 978-1775840992
  1. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links