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Cercomela schlegelii

Chat, Karoo-IMG_6250 copy

Cercomela schlegelii

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Parvordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Muscicapoidea
Familia: Muscicapidae
Genus: Cercomela
Species: Cercomela schlegelii
Subspecies: C. s. benguellensis - C. s. kobosensis - C. s. namaquensis - C. s. pollux - C. s. schlegelii


Cercomela schlegelii (Wahlberg, 1855)


Öfversigt af Kongel Vetenskaps Akademiens Förhandlingar 12 p.213

Vernacular names
English: Karoo Chat

The Karoo Chat, Cercomela schlegelii, is a small passerine bird of the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae. It is a common resident breeder in southwesternmost Angola, western Namibia and western South Africa. Its habitat is Karoo and desert scrub in the south, extending to the escarpment zone in the north.

The scientific name commemorates the German ornithologist, Hermann Schlegel


The Karoo Chat is 16–18 cm long and weighs around 32 gm. Its upperparts are grey, but it has a rufous patch behind the eye, and the tail is black with white outer feathers. Its underparts are white, the short straight bill, legs and feet are black and the eye is dark. The sexes are similar, but the juvenile is spotted with buff and has scaly underparts..

This species is paler than the similar grey form of the female Mountain Wheatear, from which it also differs in having a grey (not white) rump and completely white outer tail feathers. Its larger size and all-white outer tail feathers prevent confusion with the Tractrac or Sickle-winged Chats.

The Karoo Chat has "chak-chak" and trrat-trrat calls.


The Karoo Chat builds a cup-shaped nest of straw and leaves on the ground, usually under a bush or shrub. It lays two to four green eggs. This species is monogamous, mating for life.

The Karoo Chat is usually seen singly or in pairs. It forages from the ground for insects including butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. Prey is typically taking in a short flight.

Conservation status

This common species has a large range, with an estimated extent of 1,100,000 km². The population size is believed to be large, and the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.


* Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1
* Birds of Southern Africa

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License