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Kalahari Scrub Robin - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 22:27, 28 September 2023 by Jmorlan (talk | contribs) (Added ID and behavior sections. Removed incomplete tag.)
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Photo by Alastair Rae
Etosha, Namibia, December 2006
Cercotrichas paena

Erythropygia paena


  • Medium-sized sandy-brown scrub-robin
  • Pale unstreaked underparts.
  • Brownish back"
  • Auburn-rusty rump and tail with a white-tipped black terminal band.

The similar Red-backed Scrub-Robin differs in having white on the wing and a streaked breast. The lack of white on the wing and lack of breast streaking help separate this species from the similar Red-backed Scrub-Robin.


Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.


Cercotrichas paena has four subspecies:[1]

  • C. p. benguellensis
  • South-western Angola
  • C. p. damarensis
  • Namibia
  • C. p. paena
  • Botswana to Zimbabwe, north-western and north-central South Africa
  • C. p. oriens
  • Western Free State to southern Zimbabwe

Birds from the arid north-west are paler than those from the wetter south-east. There is little known about transition zones between subspecies; boundaries are somewhat arbitrary.[2]


Shrubland and short open woodland with areas of bare ground.


They have a very expressive cocked-up tail which is often rocked back and forth sideways. Pairs frequent thickets and clumps of thorn trees in Kalahari woodland. They forage on the ground or perch in trees where they singing a varied musical song.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. 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

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