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Retz's Helmetshrike - BirdForum Opus

Adult. Photo by Widus
Mkuze Game Reserve, South Africa.

Alternative name: Red-billed Helmetshrike

Prionops retzii


Length 19-21 cm. Black body with brown back and wing coverts; vent and undertail coverts white.
Red bill, legs and eye wattle are missing or subdued in the juvenile.


Africa: Southern Somalia to Angola and north-eastern South Africa.

Juvenile. Photo by Alan Manson
Berg-en-Dal, Kruger National Park, South Africa, January 2010


Prionops retzii has four subspecies:[1]

  • P. r. graculinus
  • P. r. tricolor
  • P. r. nigricans
  • Angola to north-western Zambia and south-eastern DRC
  • P. r. retzii


Woodland and riparian forest.


Usually found in groups of 2-15, moving between trees in a cohesive group. Feeds on invertebrates found mainly on branches, trunks and twigs.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. 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
  3. Sinclair, I and P Ryan. 2003. Birds of Africa South of the Sahara. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691118154

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