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African Stonechat - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Mybs
Stellenbosch, South Africa, August 2005
Saxicola torquatus

Includes: Madagascar Stonechat


Photo © by kitefarrago
Kruger National Park, South Africa, 8 August 2010

12.5 cm (5 in)

  • Black head
  • White rear collar
  • Rufous breast


Africa (including Madagascar) and Arabia.


Was formerly included in Common Stonechat.


There are around 16 subspecies.[1]:

  • S. t. felix: Mountains of south-western Arabia and Yemen
  • S. t. jebelmarrae: Western Sudan (Darfur region)
  • S. t. moptanus: Inner Niger delta, Mali, northern Senegal and Senegal delta
  • S. t. nebularum: Highlands of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and western Ivory Coast
  • S. t. adamauae: Highlands of northern and western Cameroon
  • S. t. pallidigula: Cameroon Mountain and Bioko
  • S. t. axillaris: Highlands of eastern Zaire to Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and northern Tanzania
  • S. t. promiscuus: Highlands of eastern Tanzania
  • S. t. salax: South-eastern Nigeria to Cameroon, Gabon, lower Congo and Angola
  • S. t. stonei: Angola to western Tanzania, southern Mozambique and northern Cape Province
  • S. t. clanceyi: Coastal western Namibia to north-western Cape Province
  • S. t. torquatus: South-western Cape Province to Natal and Transvaal
  • S. t. oreobates: Highlands of Lesotho; winters to eastern Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique
  • S. t. voeltzkowi: Grand Comoro Island
  • S. t. albofasciatus: Ethiopian Stonechat): Western and central Ethiopia, southeastern South Sudan, and northeastern Uganda
  • S. t. sibilla: Madagascar Stonechat: Madagascar


Savanna, grassland, wetlands and marshes.


Most often seen in pairs perched up on a stick or shrub. It flies down onto the ground, returning to the same perch. Often flicks its wings.


Their diet consists mainly of insects and worms.


Breeds mainly in the summer months. The nest is well hidden inside a clump of vegetation and consists of an untidy bowl of grass and rootlets. It is lined neatly with rootlets and animal hairs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BirdLife International
  3. Collar, N. (2020). Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/58515 on 8 March 2020)

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1