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Aves Bird of the Week – Cape Robin-Chat – Cossypha caffra

The Cape Robin-Chat - Cossypha caffra - is a resident breeder in southern and eastern Africa. It is a common species at forest edges and in scrub, fynbos, Karoo, plantations, gardens and parks.


The adult’s upper-parts are grey, and the face sides in front of and behind the eye are blackish, separated from the crown by a white supercilium. The chin, throat, central breast, rump, under-tail coverts and outer tail feathers are orange, and the central tail feathers are greyish-brown. The belly is pale grey. The black bill is short and straight, with a slightly down-curved upper mandible. The legs and feet are pinkish grey, and the eye is brown. The sexes are similar, but the juvenile is dark brown above and buff below, heavily marked with buff on the upperparts and grey-brown on the breast.


Its song is a series of melodious phrases, usually starting with ‘cheroo-weet-weet-weeeet’ and also often mimics other birds.


It mainly eats insects and other invertebrates, supplemented with fruit and seeds plucked from bushes, trees or the ground. It does a lot of its foraging in leaf litter, flicking through plant debris in search of food and occasionally aerially hawking an insect.


The Cape Robin-Chat builds a cup-shaped nest of coarse vegetation, lined with animal hair, rootlets and other fine material. The egg-laying season is from about June-January, peaking around October - November. The nest is usually built solely by the female in about 1 to 14 days. The female lays 2 to 3 pale blue eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 14 to 19 days. They are fed by both parents, eventually leaving the nest at about 14 to 18 days, remaining dependent on their parents for about 5 to 7 weeks more.

Conservation Status – Least Concern

Not threatened, in fact it has adapted well to the introduction of man-made habitats.

Bird watching

These beautiful, confiding birds can be seen on the following Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures: -

Aves Arid Birding Tour/Safari/Adventure.

Aves Eastern Cape Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves Highlands / Tembe Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves KZN Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves North East Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves North West Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves Western Cape Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves West Coast Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.



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