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Karoo Chat

Emarginata schlegelii

The Karoo chat, Emarginata schlegelii, is a modestly sized member of the Old World flycatcher family, Muscicapidae. It is characterized by a grey upper body with a distinctive rufous patch located just behind the eye. The tail is a stark black with contrasting white outer feathers, while the underparts are a clean white. Both sexes share a similar appearance, but the juvenile can be distinguished by its buff spotting and scaly underparts.

Identification Tips

When identifying the Karoo chat, look for its 16-18 cm length and a weight of approximately 32 grams. The bird's short, straight bill, legs, and feet are black, and the eye is dark. The grey rump and completely white outer tail feathers are key features that differentiate it from similar species.

Habitat

This species is found in the Karoo and desert scrublands of southwestern Angola, western Namibia, and western South Africa. Its range extends north to the escarpment zone.

Distribution

The Karoo chat is a common resident breeder in its range, which includes southwestern Angola, western Namibia, and western South Africa.

Behaviour

The Karoo chat exhibits monogamous behavior, often mating for life. It is typically observed alone or in pairs, foraging on the ground for insects. The bird constructs a cup-shaped nest on the ground, usually under the protection of a bush or shrub, where it lays two to four green eggs.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the Karoo chat include a "chak-chak" and a "trrat-trrat" call, which can be heard across its habitat.

Similar Species

This bird can be confused with the grey form of the female mountain wheatear, but the Karoo chat has a grey rump and white outer tail feathers. It is larger than the tractrac or sickle-winged chats, which also have different tail feather patterns.

Diet and Feeding

The Karoo chat's diet consists of insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts, and ants. It captures its prey in short flights from the ground.

Conservation status

The Karoo chat is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. It has a large range estimated at 1,100,000 km² and a population size believed to be large, with no significant decline observed or expected in the near future.

Karoo Chat Sounds


Recorded by: © 
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Karoo Chats on Birda

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A photo of a White-gorgeted Flycatcher (Anthipes monileger)

White-gorgeted Flycatcher

Anthipes monileger
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