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Species Guide
A photo of a Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes)
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin

Cercotrichas galactotes

The Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, known scientifically as Cercotrichas galactotes, is a medium-sized bird belonging to the Muscicapidae family. This species exhibits a rich brownish chestnut upper part with a more rufous rump and uppertail coverts. It is adorned with a creamy-white supercilium curving from the nostrils to behind the eye, contrasted by a dark brown eye-stripe. The underparts are a soft buffish white, with the central belly and undertail coverts being paler. Both sexes share similar plumage, while juveniles appear paler with sandy-brown tones.

Identification Tips

Adults measure approximately 150 mm in length, with long legs and a large, rounded tail. The eye and beak are brown, though the lower mandible of the beak has a greyish base. The tail feathers are a bright rufous-chestnut with narrow black tips, and the wing feathers are dark brown with buff and pale chestnut-brown fringes.


The Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin favors dry open country with an abundance of bushes and shrubs. It is also found in parks, vineyards, and large gardens where it is prevalent.


This species is partially migratory, breeding from the Mediterranean to Pakistan and in Africa from the Sahel region to Somalia. It winters in Africa and India and is a rare visitor to northern Europe.


The Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin is often seen hopping on the ground or perched, frequently fanning its tail or bobbing it up and down. It is known for its display flight, which includes a downward swoop with uplifted wings, and may sing while displaying.

Song & Calls

The song of the Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin is a series of notes that can be clear and loud or soft, often described as having a sad tone. It is typically delivered from an elevated perch.


Nests are built a few feet off the ground, well-hidden within bushes or other concealed locations. The nest is constructed of grasses, stems, and roots, lined with fine materials. Clutches usually consist of four to five eggs, which are pale greenish or greyish-white with greyish-brown spots.

Similar Species

There are no similar species mentioned in the provided content.

Diet and Feeding

The diet consists mainly of insects such as beetles and grasshoppers, as well as butterfly and moth larvae and earthworms. The Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin forages on the ground, turning over leaf litter in search of prey.

Conservation status

As of the last assessment, the Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin was classified as "Least Concern" by the IUCN Red List, with a stable population size and an extensive range.

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin Sounds

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