Black-backed Puffback ( Dryoscopus cubla, family: Malaconotidae)

Birds & Birding in the Kruger National Park South Africa. In Roberts 6 this bird was called Puffback

black backed puffback kruger national park birds The Black-backed Puffback (Latin name Dryoscopus cubla) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 740 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 690 also a picture of the Black-backed Puffback on page 721. The Black-backed Puffback belongs to the family of birds classified as Malaconotidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Black-backed Puffback is also known by these other names: Southern Puffback.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the Black-backed Puffback was called the Puffback

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Black-backed Puffback is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a common resident

In terms of distribution of the Black-backed Puffback in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Black-backed Puffback : see above distribution map.

The Black-backed Puffback.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Black-backed Puffback is a small bird about the size of a house sparrow. Do not take this relative indicator as anything other than a rough easy to remember indicator. It is not a accurate visualization. The height of the Black-backed Puffback is about 18 cms and its weight is about 27 gms

You will find that the male Black-backed Puffback plumage and colours are different to that of the female Black-backed Puffback

  • Head is blue.
  • Eye is red.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is white.
  • Back is white.
  • Legs are blue.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Black-backed Puffback feeds on wing mainly


Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Black-backed Puffback is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Dryoscopus cubla will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Black-backed Puffback is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays eggs which are cream in colour and number between 2 to 3

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Black-backed Puffback are: woodlands and grasslands

You can see Black-backed Puffback in flocks. The bird will often also be seen singly.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Intakembila/Unomaswana

Zulu ... iBhoboni

Afrikaans ...Sneeubal

German ... Schneeballwrger

Portuguese ... Picano-de-almofadinha

French ... Cubla boule-de-neige

Dutch ... Poederdonsklauwier

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 740

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,