- Cossypha caffra
Length 16-17 cm (6¼-6¾ in)
- Grey above
- Black sides of face and behind eye
- White supercilium
- Orange chin, throat, central breast, rump, under-tail coverts and outer tail feathers
- Grey-brown central tail feathers
- Pale grey belly
- Black, down curved bill
- Brown iris
- Pink-grey legs and feet
- Spotted buff-marked dark brown upperparts
- Scaled dusky underparts
- Grey-brown breast
- White-browed Robin-Chat has longer white supercilium and more extensive orange underparts.
- White-throated Robin-Chat has white throat and wing stripe.
Western Africa: found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Eastern Africa: South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho and Swaziland Kenya, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland.
Robin-chats were formerly classified as members of the Thrush family (Turdidae), but as first proposed by Sibley and Monroe (1991) are now usually recognized as members of the Old World Flycatchers (Muscicapidae). Some authors place this species in the genus Dessonornis following application of controversial criteria proposed by Tobias et al. (2010). This is a polytypic species.
There are 4-7 subspecies depending on the authority:
- C. c. iolaema:
- C. c. kivuensis:
- Eastern DRC (Kivu highlands) and south-western [[Uganda]
- Like iolaema but more richly colored below.
- C. c. namaquensis:
- C. c. caffra:
The subspecies drakensbergi and vespera along with ardens are generally considered invalid.
Forest edges, bushveld, scrub and fynbos, gardens and parks.
They build a cup-shaped nest from coarse vegetation, lined with animal hair and rootlets. Sometimes victim of brood parasitism by Red-chested Cuckoo
The diet includes a wide variety of insects, spiders, caterpillars invertebrates, small frogs, lizards and some fruit and other vegetable matter.
Call a distinctive guttural "wur-da-churr." The Afrikaans name for this species, “JAN Frederik” gives the rhythm of its call, with the end-notes run together. Song by both sexes (female usually shorter and muted) a series of repetitive melodious high pitched phrases starting with soft down-slurred whistles. Also may mimic other species.
Mainly resident with limited altitudinal movement during dry winter season.
Click on photo for larger image
Photo © by Charlie Moores
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- Collar, N. (2018). Cape Robin-chat (Dessonornis caffer). 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/58442 on 24 June 2018).
- Sibley, C. G. and Monroe, B. L . 1991. Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. Yale University Press, New Haven and London.
- Sinclair, I., Hockey, P.A.R., and Arlott, N. (2005). The Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town. ISBN 978-1775840992
- Tobias, J. A., Seddon, N., Spottiswoode, C. N., Pilgrim, J. D., Fishpool, L. D. C. and Collar, N. J. 2010. Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis 152: 724–746.
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) Cape Robin-Chat. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 20 June 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/wiki/Cape_Robin-Chat