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Species Guide
A photo of a Pied Bush Chat (Saxicola caprata), male
Pied Bush Chat, Male

Pied Bush Chat

Saxicola caprata

The Pied Bush Chat (Saxicola caprata) is a small, dapper passerine bird, a resident breeder across tropical southern Asia from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. This species exhibits sexual dimorphism: males are characterized by their striking black and white plumage, while females and juveniles are predominantly brown with a less conspicuous appearance.

Identification Tips

Males of the species are easily identified by their black bodies contrasted with white shoulder patches, rump, and lower belly. The extent of the white varies among populations. Females are drab brown with slight streaking, and juveniles have a scaly appearance on the underside but are darker above, resembling the females.


The Pied Bush Chat favors open habitats such as countryside, scrub, grassland, and areas of cultivation. It is often seen perched atop short thorn trees or shrubs in its quest for insect prey.


This bird has a wide range, from West Asia and Central Asia to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It has also colonized Papua New Guinea since around 1950. Some populations are known to be partially migratory.


The Pied Bush Chat is known for its upright stance and for perching conspicuously while hunting for insects, mainly from the ground. During the breeding season, males can be observed singing from prominent perches and displaying by fluttering and puffing up their white scapular feathers.

Song & Calls

The male's song is a whistling call reminiscent of an Indian robin, often described as "we are tea for two," with the "tea" note being higher. This melodious call is a staple of their breeding display.


Breeding season peaks from March to June, with nests typically built in cavities in stone walls or embankments, lined with grass and animal hair. The female lays two to five eggs, which are incubated primarily by her for about 12 to 13 days.

Similar Species

The Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus) is similar in size and structure but can be distinguished by the male Pied Bush Chat's unique black and white coloring.

Diet and Feeding

Insectivorous by nature, the Pied Bush Chat hunts from a low perch and has been observed feeding on various insects, including Pyralid moths and whiteflies.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List categorizes the Pied Bush Chat as Least Concern, indicating that it is not currently at significant risk of widespread decline.

Pied Bush Chat Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Pied Bush Chats on Birda


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