Woodhoopoes (Phoeniculidae)

Common Scimitarbill (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas) - HBW 6, p. 433

French: Irrisor namaquois German: Sichelhopf Spanish: Abubilla-arbórea Cimitarra
Other common names: (Greater) Scimitarbill

Taxonomy: Falcinellus cyanomelas Vieillot, 1819, Orange River, north-western Cape Province.
Genus often merged into Phoeniculus. Present species forms a superspecies with R. aterrimus; these two are sometimes considered conspecific, intergrading in S Angola and SE Zaire, with hybridization also documented, but elsewhere (e.g. W Zambia) they appear ecologically separated; morphological and vocal differences also suggest they are probably better treated as separate species. Birds from Zimbabwe, S Mozambique and E South Africa (Transvaal, Zululand), described as intermedius, now regarded as inseparable from schalowi. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • schalowi Neumann, 1900 - W Uganda, W & C Kenya and S Somalia S to Zambia and W Natal.
  • cyanomelas (Vieillot, 1819) - SW Angola and Namibia E to Transvaal.