Cercomela sinuata (Sickle-winged chat) 

Vlaktespekvreter [Afrikaans]; Vlakte-spekvreter [Dutch]; Traquet aile-en-faux [French]; Oranjeschmätzer [German]; Chasco-asa-de-foice [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: Cercomela

Cercomela sinuata (Sickle-winged chat)   

Sickle-winged chat. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]


Distribution and habitat

Endemic to southern Africa, occurring from southern Namibia to the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape, extending into the Free State and Lesotho. It generally prefers Karoo shrubland, fynbos, montane grasslands, slopes with scattered bushes, Renosterbos (Dicerothamnus rhinocerotis) shrubland, fallow fields and well-grazed pastures.

Distribution of Sickle-winged chat 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, 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:


  • The nest (see image below) is a cup built of twigs and coarse grass and lined with soft, dry grass, fluffy seeds and other fine plant material. It is typically placed in soil at the base of a shrub, grass tuft or stone, or occasionally in a hole in a wall.
Cercomela sinuata (Sickle-winged chat)  

Sickle-winged chat nest with eggs, Mafika, Lesotho. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from August-March, peaking from October-January in most areas, but earlier in the Western Cape.
  • It lays 2-4 pale greenish blue eggs, lightly speckled with reddish brown.


Not threatened, although overgrazing by sheep may cause for concern, however it is locally common in heavily farmed areas in the south-western Western Cape.


  • 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. 



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