Cercotrichas quadrivirgata (Bearded scrub-robin) 

[= Erythropygia quadrivirgata

Baardwipstert [Afrikaans]; Streepkop-waaierstaart [Dutch]; Agrobate à moustaches [French]; Brauner bartheckensänger [German]; Rouxinol-do-mato-de-bigodes [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: Cercotrichas

Cercotrichas quadrivirgata (Bearded scrub-robin) Cercotrichas quadrivirgata (Bearded scrub-robin) 
Cercotrichas quadrivirgata (Bearded scrub-robin) 

Bearded scrub-robin, Kruger National Park, South Africa.  [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Bearded scrub-robins, South Africa. [top right photo Alan Manson © ; bottom right photo Johan van Rensburg]

For more info on this species, see www.birdforum.net/opus/Bearded_Scrub-Robin

Distribution and habitat

It occurs from southern Somalia through eastern Tanzania to Malawi, Zambia and southern Africa. Here it is locally common in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, northern Botswana, Caprivi Strip (Namibia) and the extreme east of South Africa. It generally prefers sand forest, thickets in broad-leaved woodland or savanna and riverine forest.

Distribution of Bearded scrub-robin 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.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Red-chested cuckoo.


It mainly eats beetles and ants, doing most of its foraging on the ground, often taking prey flushed by driver ant swarms. It may also forage high up in the tree canopy, gleaning ants and caterpillars from leaves and branches. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is an open cup set into a pad of rootlets and dead leaves, sometimes also including lichen, dried grass, small twigs and moss, lined with animal hair such as that of the Nyala (Tragelaphus angasi), Bushpig (Potomachoerus larvatus) and Red duiker (Cephalophus natalensis). It is typically placed in a rotten cavity in a living tree, on top of a hollow stump or in a hole at the base of a fork against the tree trunk.
  • Egg-laying season is from September-December.
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 11-14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both adults, leaving the nest after about 15-17 days, after which they still remain dependent on their parents for about 4 more weeks.


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. 



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