I once had a fleeting glimpse of a Black-backed Puffback (Dryoscopus cubla) in our garden and got a very poor photograph of it, so was delighted to see this one in a different garden recently.
A member of the Bushshrike family, these birds are commonly found in woodland, thickets as well as in forest canopies – descriptions that both suit parts of our garden and make photographing them difficult. Nonetheless, apart from the characteristic reddish eye, you can see the soft-looking white rump plumes that the males erect when displaying – hence the name ‘puffback’. They mainly feed on insects gleaned from leaves and branches, although are also known to eat fruit.
Their scientific name is an interesting combination of Greek and Hottentot: Dryoscopus comes from the Greek word for ‘the watcher from the trees’ and cubla is said to be derived from a Hottentot word which incorporates the click that imitates the call of the bird.