Malcorus pectoralis (Rufous-eared warbler) 

Rooioorlangstertjie [Afrikaans]; Roodoorprinia [Dutch]; Prinia à joues rousses [French]; Rotbackensänger [German]; Felosa-de-faces-ruivas [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Cisticolidae

Malcorus pectoralis (Rufous-eared warbler) Malcorus pectoralis (Rufous-eared warbler) 
Malcorus pectoralis (Rufous-eared warbler) 

Rufous-eared warbler male, Kimberley, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Rufous-eared warbler female (top) and male (bottom), Beaufort West, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to southern Africa, with the bulk of its population in west-central South Africa, extending into southern Namibia and Botswana. It is especially common in the shrublands of the Karoo and Kalahari.

Distribution of Rufous-eared warbler in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  


It mainly eats invertebrates supplemented with small fruit and seeds, often gleaning prey from the stems and leaves. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Invertebrates
  • Fruit
  • Seeds
    • Asparagus
    • Lycium (honey-thorns)
    • Atriplex semibaccata (Creeping saltbrush)


  • The nest is an untidy oval shape with a side-top entrance, built of grey grass leaves and stems, or alternatively from strips of milkweed (Asclepias buchenaviana), reinforced with spider web and lined with plant down. It is typically placed up to 1 metre above ground in a bush or shrub, such as Driedoring (Rhigozum trichotomum), Doringvygie (Ruschia spinosa) and Bloubrakbossie (Galenia fruticosa).
  • Egg-laying season is year round, but it generally lays its eggs after rainfall.
  • It lays 2-7, usually 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for about 12-13 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 11-13 days.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 



 Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Birds home   Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search