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Southern Anteater Chat - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Ralph Timmermann
Nossob Valley, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa, November 2011

Alternative name: Ant-eating Chat

Myrmecocichla formicivora


Photo by leon
Rietvlei Dam, Pretoria, South Africa, June 2004

Length 17–18 cm (6¾-7 in), mass 45-50 g. A dark grassland chat with a distinctive upright stance. It has relatively long legs which accentuate a short tail.
Adult male:

  • Very dark brown overall plumage
  • Small white carpal patch that is often not visible when perched.
  • In flight the wings show white windows.
  • Black bill, legs and feet
  • Dark brown eyes

Adult female: Similar to the male but without the white carpal patches.


Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana and South Africa; limited distribution in Lesotho and western eSwatini.


Stu b
Pretoria, South Africa

This is either a monotypic species[1] or has 3 subspecies[2].

  • M. f. formicivora:
  • M. f. minor:
  • M. f. orestes:


Grasslands, shrublands, and open savanna.


Solitary, in pairs, or in small groups. Roosts in the nest burrow.


Photo by Olli
Kalahari, South Africa, September 2008

Flies with a rapid wingbeat; sometimes hovers.


Forages on the ground for invertebrates (mainly ants and termites); some fruit is also eaten.


Nests at the end of a burrow (35-150 cm long) which is excavated by both male and female. Two to seven eggs are laid in summer (August to March). Nestlings are fed by both parents. Parasitised by the Greater Honeyguide.


  1. 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/
  2. Avibase
  3. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533

Recommended Citation

External Links

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