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Rockrunner - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Max Holdt
Windhoek, Namibia

Alternative name: Damara Rock-jumper

Achaetops pycnopygius

Chaetops pycnopygius

Identification

Length 16-17 cm.

Adult: The back is dark and heavily streaked, the breast white with black spots, and the belly rich rufous. The female is more extensive tawny on belly. Juveniles are duller and have weaker markings.

Distribution

Namibia and south-western Angola.
Common in parts of its range.

Taxonomy

This species was formerly placed in the genus Chaetops3 due to structural similarities. However, molecular evidence shows that the Rockrunner is not closely related to the Cape and Drakensberg Rockjumpers, but is related to the Cape Grassbird Sphenoeacus afer in the Sylviidae1,5.


There are two subspecies:

  • A. p. pycnopygius in Namibia and coastal southwest Angola
  • A. p. spadix in Huila and Namibe escarpement in southwest Angola
Photo by safariranger
Waterberg Plateau Lodge, Namibia, December 2007

Habitat

Rocky slopes.

Behaviour

Usually found singly or in pairs, on the ground or on rocks; runs rather than flies. Forages on the ground, mainly for insects.

Breeding

Monogamous and territorial. The nest is an open cup built of grass in a dense grass tussock. Two or three eggs are laid November to March.

References

  1. Beresford P, Barker FK, Ryan PG & Crowe TM. 2005. African endemics span the tree of songbirds (Passeri): molecular systematics of several evolutionary ‘enigmas’. Proc. R. Soc. B 272, 849–858.
  2. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  3. Dickinson EC (ed.) 2003. The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 3rd ed. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ, USA. ISBN 9780691117010
  4. Gill F & Wright M. 2008. Birds of the World: Recommended English Names. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, USA. 2006. ISBN 9780691128276 Update (2008) downloaded from http://worldbirdnames.org/names.html.
  5. Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ & Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Robert's Birds of Southern Africa, 7th edition. John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa. ISBN 0620340533

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