Cichladusa ruficauda (Rufous-tailed palm-thrush) 

Rooistertmôrelyster [Afrikaans]; Gabon-palmlijster [Dutch]; Cichladuse à queue rousse [French]; Graubruströtel [German]; Tordo-das-palmeiras-de-cauda-vermelha [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: Cichladusa

Cichladusa ruficauda (Rufous-tailed palm-thrush)  Cichladusa ruficauda (Rufous-tailed palm-thrush) 
Rufous-tailed palm-thrush, Cunene Valley, Namibia. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in a band from Gabon, Congo and eastern DRC to Angola and the extreme north-western region of Namibia. Here it is locally common in gallery forests and riverine woodland, especially with interspersed Northern lala palms (Hyphaene petersiana).

Distribution of Rufous-tailed palm-thrush 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).


It mainly eats invertebrates, such as beetles (Coleoptera) and spiders, doing most of its foraging on the ground but also gleaning food from leaves and branches. It additionally eats the fruit of the Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis).


  • The nest is a deep, well-rounded cup made of mud and plant fibres and lined with finer plant material. Both sexes construct it, carrying material along the same route, repeatedly calling from perches along the way. It is typically attached to a vertically hanging palm frond or at the point at which it connects to the trunk, but it may also be placed in a cavity in the trunk of a Baobab (Adansonia digitata) or some other forest tree, on a rock or brick ledge, window-sill or under the eaves of a building.
  • Egg-laying season is from about November-April in Namibia.
  • It lays 2-4 greenish white eggs, which are speckled with rufous.
  • Both adults feed the chicks; on the way to and fro from the nest they stop of at staging posts to sing, like they do when they first build the structure.


Not threatened globally, although there is a plan to implement hydro-electric schemes in the Cunene River flood plain, Namibia, which could drive its population in the country to near-extinction.


  • 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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