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Black Scrub Robin - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by A. Meir
Eilat, Israel, March 2008

Alternative name: Black Bush Robin

Cercotrichas podobe


18–20 cm (7-7¾ in); tail about 12 cm
Glossy black plumage with dark brown feathers on the wings. Unmistakable long tail with white tips on the rear feathers obvious when looking from below.


Photo © by ammadoux
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June, 2020

Africa and the Middle East
Western Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea
Eastern Africa: Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia
Middle East: Israel, Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia, Yemen

Subspecies melanoptera is not a migrant, but makes annual movements as it can be seen in Asir (southern Saudi Arabia) in the months of May to August and in Jeddah and Yunbu (half way on the western cost of Saudi Arabia) from September until February; it has rare visits to south of Israel during the month of April.



There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • C. p. podobe:
  • C. p. melanoptera:


Dry savanna.



The bird spends most of his time searching the ground for insects.


It is a rather active bird, and can be seen from early light until sometime after the sunset. It runs gracefully on the ground, keeping its balance by fanning its long tail up and down.


Breeding starts during January with the male displaying on the ground by cocking his tail, and sending his melodious song from a high branch in dry scrub.

The nest is usually near the ground; generally the pair incubates about 8 eggs at a time.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Birdforum Member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links

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