Boulder chat

Boulder chat
Pinarornis plumosus

Photo by Adam Riley (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
boulder chat (en); chasco-das-rochas (pt); rochassier des éboulis (fr); zorzal roquero (es); steindroßling (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae

This species is found in eastern Botswana, Zimbabwe, marginally into western Mozambique and north to south-eastern Zambia and southern Malawi.

These birds are 23-27 cm long and weigh around 65 g.

The boulder chat is found in well-wooded granite outcrops, and hills with scattered granite boulders mixed with open savanna.

They feed on insects and small lizards, which are mainly taken from the ground. They can also hawk termite alates using aerial sallies.

Boulder chats breed in September-January. The nest is a cup made of bark, leaves and twigs, set into a foundation of earth clods and lined with leaf petioles. It is typically placed underneath a boulder, in a cavity between two rocks or next to a log. The female lays 2-4 greenish-white eggs with reddish-brown speckles, which are incubated for 13-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and leave the nest 16-20 days after hatching, before they can fly, after which they hide under boulders until they fledge. They may still remain dependent on their parents until the following breeding season.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as generally frequent to common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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