- Monticola explorator
Length 17 cm, mass about 50 g. Adult male: The head to upper breast and back is a striking blue-grey, contrasting with a rich orange lower breast and belly. The wings are black and grey. The bill is black and the irises are brown. Adult female: Greyish brown with pale mottling above. Throat and breast streaked dark brown on a white to orange background. Belly creamy.
There are two subspecies: M. e. explorator from most of the range of the species (Western Cape to Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Swaziland); and M. e. tenebriformis from Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal, darker than the nominate race.
Grasslands, heathlands, fynbos and other open habitats, often on rocky slopes.
Solitary, in pairs, or in small groups. Fairly active and often perches conspicuously. Forages on the ground (often from a low perch) mainly for insects, but also other invertebrates, seeds and fruit.
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