BIRDS of THE WORLD - An Online Bird Book


Muscicapidae is a large family of small birds restricted to the Old World. These are mainly small arboreal insectivores, many of which, take their prey on the wing. The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls. They vary 10 to 21 cm. Many species are a dull brown in color. Most have broad, flattened, bill, suited to catching insects in flight, although the few ground foraging species typically have finer bills. They live in almost every environment with a suitable supply of trees, from dense forest to open scrub. The more northerly species migrate south in winter, ensuring a continuous diet of insects.

CHATS And Allies

Order Passeriformes    Family Muscicapidae

Genus Cercomela
Found: mainly Africa. The typical Cercomela plumage is fairly plain grey or brown upperparts and paler underparts. The tail pattern is often distinctive, and may be useful in distinguishing the African species. The long legs and feet are black and the bill is short and straight. The sexes are similar in plumage.

Blackstart  Cercomela melanura  Found: north Africa, southwest Asia
The Blackstart has bluish-gray or gray-brown plumage; black tail.
Image by: 1) Ofer

Chat, Brown Rock also Indian Chat  Cercomela fusca  Found: India, Pakistan
The Indian Chat has rufous-brown plumage; darker wings, tail.
Image by: 1) Bhardwaj Shanthanu - Kachchh, Gujarat, India  2, 3) J M Garg - Haryana, India

Chat, Familiar  also  Red-tailed Chat  Cercomela familiaris  Found: Africa
The Familiar Chat has brown upperparts; off-white to pale-gray underparts; orange rump; black bill, legs.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya 2) Mike Richardson - Zambia  3) Hans Hillewaert - Namibia  4)  Cristiano Crolle - Sossusvlei, Namibia

Chat, Karoo  Cercomela schlegelii  Found: Africa
The Karoo Chat has gray upperparts; rufous patch behind the eye; black tail with white outer feathers; white underparts; black bill, legs.
Image by: 1) Alan Manson - South Africa  2) Dick Daniels - South Africa near Cape Town

Chat, Moorland   Cercomela sordida  Found: Africa
The Moorland Chat has grayish-brown upperparts; lighter underparts; short tail; long legs.
Image by: 1, 5) Joseph Mochoge - Eburu Kenya  2) Jorge Lascar - Mt. Kilimanjaro    3) Steve Garvie - Kenya  4) Dave Curtis - Kenya
1) Female 5) Male

Chat, Sickle-winged  Cercomela sinuata also Emarginata sinuata Found: southern Africa
The Sickle-winged Chat has dark gray upperparts; brown wings; rufous patch behind eye; buff-pink tail, rump; off-white underparts; black legs.
Image by: 1, 2) Francesco_Veronesi - South Africa

Chat, Tractrac  Cercomela tractrac  Found: Angola, Nambia, South Africa
The Nambia subspecies pale upperparts; gray wings; gray tail markings; white underparts. Southeast from has brown upperparts; blackish flight feathers and tail markings; white underparts.
Image by: 1) Hans_Hillewaert  2) Ian_White - South Africa

Chat, Brown-tailed (Rock)  Cercomela scotocerca  Found: Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda
Image by: 1) Dave_Curtis - Kenya  2) Peter_Wilton - Ethiopia

Chat, Sombre  Cercomela dubia  Found: Ethiopia, Somalia
Image by: 1) Kerejoo

Genus Cossypha
The Robin-Chats main diet is insects.
Found in: Africa

Chat, Archer's Robin- Cossypha archeri  Found: DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda
Image by: 1) Field Museum  2) Tom Tarrant

Chat, Blue-shouldered Robin- Cossypha cyanocampter  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Esther - Kenya

Chat, Cape Robin- also Cape Robin Cossypha caffra Found: Africa
The Cape Robin-chat has gray upperparts; black eye patch; white supercilium; orange throat, breast; gray belly.
Image by: 1, 2) Derek Keats  3) Alan Manson  - Pietermaritzburg, South Africa   4, 5) Dick Daniels - Johannesburg, South Africa    6, 7) Dick - Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

Chat, Chorister Robin-  Cossypha dichroa  Found: South Africa, Swaziland
The Chorister Robin-Chat has dark upperparts; darker crown, ear-coverts; yellow-orange underparts; no eye-stripe.
Image by: 1) Alan Manson  2) Ian White - South Africa  3) Paul Barnard - South Africa

Chat, Gray-winged Robin- Cossypha polioptera  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Dave Curtis - Kenya  2) Steve Garvie - Kenya

Chat, Mountain Robin- Cossypha isabellae  Found: Cameroon, Nigeria
Image by: 1) Lee Hunter  2) Marcel Holyoak

Chat, Olive-flanked Robin- Cossypha anomala  Found: Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia
Image by: 1) Josh Engle / Field Museum - Malawi  2) Marcel Holyoak - Malawi

Chat, Red-capped Robin-  Cossypha natalensis  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  2) Arno Meintjes 

Chat, Ruppell's Robin- Cossypha semirufa  Found: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania
Image by: 1) Francesco Veronesi - Kenya  2) Dave Curtis - Kenya

Chat, Snowy-crowned Robin-  Cossypha niveicapilla  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) BS Thurner Hof  2, 4) Sandy Cole - San Diego Zoo  3) Alois Staudacher  

Chat, White-browed Robin- Cossypha heuglini   Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Joseph Mochage - Kenya  2, 3, 4) DIck Daniels - Tanzania  5, 6, 7) Dick -Kenya
1) Chick

Chat, White-crowned Robin-   Cossypha albicapilla  Found: Africa
Image by: 1, 3 Dick Daniels - San Diego Zoo  2) Dick Daniels - Jacksonville Zoo in Florida

Chat, White-headed Robin-   Cossypha heinrichi  Found: Angola, DR Congo
Image by: 1) Roseline Beudels et. al.

Chat, White-throated Robin-  Cossypha humeralis  Found: Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwebgvbv
Image by: 1) Ian White - South Africa  2) Alan Manson - South Africa

Genus Cossyphicula - 1 species

Chat, White-bellied Robin-   Cossyphicula roberti Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Lee Hunter

Genus Enicurus
Found in: southeast Asia
The forktails have a deeply forked tail, mainly black and white plumage. Most have a white forehead.

Forktail, Black-backed  Enicurus immaculatus  Found: southeast Asia
Image by: 1) Tareq Uddin Ahmed

Forktail, Chestnut-naped  Enicurus ruficapillus  Found: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand
The Chestnut-naped Forktail has black upperparts; chestnut nape, rear-crown; black throat; white underparts with mottled breast.
Image by: 1) Patko_Erica  2, 3) Francesco_Veronesi

Forktail, Little  Enicurus scouleri   Found: Asia 
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Hiyashi Haka

Forktail, Slaty-backed  Enicurus schistaceus  Found: southeast Asia, Malaysia
Image by: 1) Kannan  2) Alestair Rae

Forktail, Spotted  Enicurus maculatus  Found: south central Asia
Image by: 1) Olga007 2) John Gould  3) Nagesh Kameth  4) Kannan

Forktail, Sunda  Enicurus velatus  Found: Java and Sumatra (Indonesia)
The Sunda Forktail has dark gray upperparts; white forehead, underparts, rump. Female has more white on forehead than male. Female has brown crown; male is gray.
Image by: 1, 2) Lip_Kee  3) James_Eaton
1) Juvenile: left; female: right  2) Female  3) Male

Forktail, White-crowned  Enicurus leschenaulti  Found: southeast Asia, Indonesia
The White-crowned Forktail has mainly black plumage; white fore-crown, parts of wings, tail; white belly. Juvenile lacks white on head.
Image by: 1) Ron_Knight  2) Patko Erica  3) Hanifridz

Genus Myrmecocichla  Also known as Thamnolaea
Found in: Africa

Chat, Congo Moor-  Myrmecocichla tholloni Found: Angola, DR Congo, Gabon
Image by: 1) brun-x

Chat, Northern Anteater- also  Anteater-Chat  Myrmecocichla aethiopFound: central Africa
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Dick Daniels

Chat, Ruaha  Myrmecocichla collaris  Found: Burundi , Rwanda, Tanzania, ZambiaI
Image by: 1) Alexander Yates - Rwanda

Chat, Ruppell's Black-  Myrmecocichla melaena  Found: Eritrea, Ethiopia
Image by: 1) Lip Kee

Chat, Sooty  Myrmecocichla nigra   Found: Africa
Image by: 1,  2) Lip Kee Yap - Masai Mara, Kenya

Chat, Southern Anteater-  Myrmecocichla formicivora   Found: southern Africa
Image by: 1) Derek Keats - South Africa  2) Ian White  3) Alistair Rae   4) Francesco Verionesi - Namibia  
1, 2) Female 3, 4) Male

Chat, White-fronted Black-  Myrmecocichla albifrons  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Nigel Voaden  2) Allan_Hopkins - Gambia

Chat, White-headed Black-  Also Arnot's Chat  Myrmecocichla arnoti  Found: Africa
The male White-headed Black-chat has mainly black plumage; white crown; white wing patch. Female similar with black cap; white throat, neck.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  2) Lip Kee - Botawana  3) Charlie Westerinen - Namibia
1) Male top, female botton  2, 3) Male

Genus Namibornis - 1 species

Chat, Herero   Namibornis herero  Found: Angola, Nambia
Image by: 1) Ian White - Namibia  2) Jerry Oldenettel - Nambia

Genus Pinarornis - 1 species

Chat, Boulder  Pinarornis plumosus   Found: Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Image by: 1, 3) Derek_Keats - Zimbabwe  2) Ian_White - Botswana

Genus Saxicola
Found in: Europe, Asia, Africa

Bushchat, Buff-streaked  Saxicola bifasciatus  Found: Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland.
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Derek_Keats - South Africa

Bushchat, Gray  Saxicola ferreus  Found: Asia 
Image by: 1, 4) Jason_Thompson - Thailand2, 3) Dick Daniels - Nepal 

Bushchat, Jerdon's  Saxicola jerdoni  Found: Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand Vietnam
Image by: 1, 3) John Gould  2) Rishikesh_Gogoi - India 4) Gary_Kinard  5) David_Fisher - Myanmar
1, 2) Female 3, 4, 5) Male

Bushchat, Pied    Found: southern Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia
The male Pied Bushchat has mainly black plumage; white lower-belly, rump; maybe white wing-patch. Female has dull brown plumage, slightly streaked.
Image by: 1) Rose Thumboor  2) Vijay_Ismavel  3) Harvinder Chandigarh - India 4) Yogendra Joshi - India
1, 2) Female 3, 4) Male

Bushchat, White-browed also  Stolizcka's Bushchat  Saxicola macrorhynchus Found: India, Pakistan
Image by: 1) Tarique_Sani  2) Sumeet Moghe - India  3) Subramanya CK

Bushchat, Timor  also White-bellied Bushchat  Saxicola gutturalis  Found: Lesser Sundas (Indonesia)
Image by: 1) Oki Hidayat  2) Ron_Knight 3) Marcel Holyoak

Bushchat, White-throated also Hodgson's Bushchat  Saxicola insignis  Found: Asia
Image by: 1) Mutzel  2) Subramanya
1) Adult male (left); juvenile male (right)

Stonechat (European) Saxicola rubicola   Found: Europe, Africa
The breeding male Stonechat has black upperparts, head; orange throat, breast; white vent, neck patch. Female has brown upperparts, head; orange underpart.
Image by: 1) Cristiano Crolle - Adda River,, Italy  2) Dixonsej  3) Myosotis Scorpioides - England  4) Causinho - Spain 
1, 2) Female   3, 4) Male

Stonechat, African  Saxicola torquata  Found: Africa
The male African Stonechat has black upperparts, head; white half collar; dark orange-brown breast; white or pale orange belly. Female has brown upperparts, head; chestnut-buff underparts.
Image by: 1) Arno_Meintjes  2) Derek Keats - near Pretoria  3) Ian White  
  4) Dick Daniels near De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa 5, 6) Dick - Madagascar
1) Female   2 - 6) Male

Stonechat, Canary Islands also  Fuerteventura Stonechat  Saxicola dacotiae  Found: Fuerteventura (island in Canary Islands)
The nale Canary Islands Stonechat has dark brown upperparts with blackish streaks; blackish head; white supercilium; white neck sides;light orange-chestnut breast; white wing-bar; whitish belly. Female is washed out version of male with no white neck sides.
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Frank_Vassen

Stonechat, Reunion   Saxicola tectes  Found: island of Reunion (Indian Ocean)
Image by: 1) David_Monniaux  2) Dunog  3) Navez

Stonechat, Siberian  Saxicola maurus  Found: Europe, Asia
The breeding male Siberiain Stonechat has black upperparts, head; white half collar; pale orange on unerparts or white. Female has brown upperparts, head; chestnut-buff underparts Nonbreeding male intermediate between breeding male and female.
Image by: 1, 3) stfbfc  2) Darren Bellerby - Hong Kong Wetland Park, Hong Kong  4) Ray Cui 

Stonechat, White-tailed
  Saxicola leucurus  Found: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan
The male White-tailed Stonechat blackish upperparts; black head; white collar; rufous throat patch; white patch on wing-covert.
Image by: 1, 3) John Gould 2) Munish Kaushik  4) Vaibhavcho

Whinchat  Saxicola rubetra  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Whinchat has brownish upperpart; white supercilium; pale throat, breast; white belly; blackish tail. Male has darker upperparts.
Image by: 1) Yaroslavl Oblas - Russia 2) Jörg Hempel - Germany   3) Frank_Vassen 4) Marek Szczepanek  5) Cristiano Crolle - near Novara, Italy

Genus Thamnolaea

Chat, Mocking Cliff-  Thamnolaeacinnamomeiventris  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Masteraah   2) Joseph Mochoge - Kenya  3) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya   4) Derek Keats - South Africa  5) Alastair Rae - Ethiopia   6) Darren Bellerby - Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya  
1, 2) Female  3 - 6) Male

Chat, White-winged Cliff-   Thamnolaea semirufa  Found: Ethiopia
The male White-winged Cliff-Chat has black upperparts, head, upper-breast; chestnut rest of underparts; white wing patch. Female has dull gray underparts.
Image by: 1) Kristian_Svensson - Ethiopia  2) Alastair Rae - Ethiopia
1) Female 2) Male

Genus Xenocopsychus - 1 species

Chat, Angola Cave-  Xenocopsychus ansorgei  also Cossypha ansorgei Found: Angola, Namibia
Image by: 1) Thomas Hohis - Namibia  2) Nik Borrow - Angola

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