Bradornis infuscatus (Chat flycatcher) 

[= Melaenornis infuscatus

GrootvlieŽvanger [Afrikaans]; Lijstervliegenvanger [Dutch]; Gobemouche traquet [French]; Drosselschnšpper [German]; Papa-moscas-chasco [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: Muscicapidae > Genus: Bradornis

Bradornis infuscatus (Chat flycatcher) 

Chat flycatcher, Beaufort West, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Near-endemic to southern Africa, occurring from southern Angola through Namibia and Botswana to South Africa. It is most common in arid Acacia savanna and Nama Karoo, as well as dry Karoo shrublands and sparse dry woodland.

Distribution of Chat flycatcher 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 insects, doing most of its foraging from a low perch, pouncing on prey on the ground. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Insects
    • Hodotermes mossambicus (Northern harvester termite)
    • Hemiptera (bugs)
    • Coleoptera (beetles)
    • ants, such as harvester ants (Messor)
    • Orthoptera (grasshoppers)
  • Small reptiles


  • The nest (see image below) is a bulky, untidy bowl built of dry plant stems, twigs and coarse grass lined with finer material such as rootlets and plant down. Aromatic plants, such as cudweed (Gnaphalium) and everlastings (Helichyrsum), are often used in nest construction, probably because they repel insects. It is typically placed in a low bush which sometimes, but not always, conceals the nest from predators.
Bradornis infuscatus (Chat flycatcher)   

Chat flycatcher at nest with chicks. [photo Peter Steyn ©]

  • Egg-laying season is basically year-round, and is thought to coincide with rainfall, but it probably peaks around September-March.
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 14-15 days, while the male feeds her at the nest.
  • The chicks are brooded for parts of their early lives and are fed by both parents, eventually leaving the nest after about 11-14 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