Woodhoopoes (Phoeniculidae)

Black Woodhoopoe (Rhinopomastus aterrimus) - HBW 6, p. 433

French: Irrisor noir German: Mohrensichelhopf Spanish: Abubilla-arbórea Negra
Other common names: Black Scimitarbill, Lesser/Scimitar-billed Woodhoopoe

Taxonomy: Promerops aterrimus Stephens, 1826, Senegal.
Taxonomy rather complicated, and much debated. Genus often merged into Phoeniculus. In past, under arrangement with division of family into three genera, present species was commonly placed in monospecific Scoptelus, based on rather straight bill. Even under arrangement dividing family into two genera, present species was often placed in Phoeniculus, but DNA studies in particular indicate closer phylogenetic affinities with Rhinopomastus. Forms a superspecies with R. cyanomelas; these two sometimes considered conspecific, intergrading in S Angola and SE Zair.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Promerops aterrimus Stephens, 1826, Senegal.
Taxonomy rather complicated, and much debated. Genus often merged into Phoeniculus. In past, under arrangement with division of family into three genera, present species was commonly placed in monospecific Scoptelus, based on rather straight bill. Even under arrangement dividing family into two genera, present species was often placed in Phoeniculus, but DNA studies in particular indicate closer phylogenetic affinities with Rhinopomastus. Forms a superspecies with R. cyanomelas; these two sometimes considered conspecific, intergrading in S Angola and SE Zaire, with hybridization also documented, but elsewhere (e.g. W Zambia) they appear ecologically separated; differences in morphology and vocalizations also suggest they are probably better treated as separate species. Birds from Angola and W Zambia, described as race anomalus, now considered inseparable from anchietae; those from Sudan described as cavei apparently inseparable from notatus. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • aterrimus (Stephens, 1826) - Senegambia E to W Sudan.
  • emini (Neumann, 1905) - C Sudan to NE Zaire and Uganda.
  • notatus (Salvin, 1892) - E Sudan and Ethiopia; recently recorded also in NW Somalia.
  • anchietae (Bocage, 1892) - S Zaire and Angola to W Zambia.

  •      No sound recordings available yet