Cossypha humeralis (White-throated robin-chat, Whitethroated robin) 

Witkeeljanfrederik [Afrikaans]; Witkeel-lawaaimaker [Dutch]; Cossyphe à gorge blanche [French]; Weißkehlrötel [German]; Cossifa-de-peito-branco [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: Cossypha

Cossypha humeralis (White-throated robin-chat, Whitethroated robin)  Cossypha humeralis (White-throated robin-chat, Whitethroated robin) 

White-throated robin-chat. [photo Francois Dreyer ©]

White-throated robin-chat, Sericea, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to southern Africa, occurring from Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique and south-eastern Botswana to north-eastern South Africa. It generally prefers thickets in Acacia and broad-leaved woodland, sand forest, thorny scrub and the edges of dune forest, also occupying wooded suburbs and farm gardens.

Distribution of White-throated robin-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.  

Brood parasites

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


It mainly eats insects supplemented with fruit and small vertebrates, doing most of its foraging on the ground, flicking through leaves in search of prey and occasionally hawking insects aerially. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Invertebrates
  • Small vertebrates
  • Fruit
    • Capparis tomentosa (Woolly caper-bush)
    • Antidesma venosum (Tassel-berry)
    • Grewia microthyrsa (Sand raisin)
    • Euclea divinorum (Magic guarri)
    • Euclea racemosa (Dune guarri)


  • The nest is an open cup built of dead leaves and dry grass with a rim of twigs, lined with coarse material such as tendrils, leaf fragments, midribs and stalks. It is typically placed on the ground, such as in a hollow in a tree stump, at the base of a vine, or even in an old pot or tin.
  • Egg-laying season is from September-January, peaking from October-November.
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 14-15 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both adults, leaving the nest after about 13-14 days, but remaining dependent on their parents for about 6-7 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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