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Batis molitor (Chinspot batis) 

Witliesbosbontrokkie [Afrikaans]; Undyola, Unondyola [Xhosa]; umNqube [Zulu]; Ximgenngwamangwami [Tsonga]; Witflank-vliegenvanger [Dutch]; Pririt molitor [French]; Weißflankenschnäpper [German]; Batis-comum [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: Malaconotidae

Batis molitor (Chinspot batis)  Batis molitor (Chinspot batis)

Chinspot batis female [photo Arno Meintjes ©].

Chinspot batis male, Tanzania. [photo Martin Goodey ©]

Distribution and habitat

Common across Africa south of the Sahel, from Angola and the DRC to southern Africa. Here it is prolific, occurring in large areas of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, north-central Namibia, Limpopo Province, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. It generally prefers savanna woodland, especially when it is dominated by Acacia, miombo (Brachystegia) or Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) trees. It also occupies valley bushveld, but it is rare in alien vegetation and evergeen forest.

Distribution of Chinspot batis 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.  

Predators and parasites

Nestlings have been recorded as prey of Accipiter badius (Shikra).

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Klaas's cuckoo.


It exclusively eats insects, doing most of its foraging in the tree canopy, gleaning prey off leaves and branches. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Both sexes build the nest (see image below), which is a small cup made of shredded plant material such as grass stems and bark, bound together with strands of spider web. It is usually placed on a tree branch, often between the stems of a fork.
Batis molitor (Chinspot batis) 

Chinspot batis female (left) and male (right) at nest, Nylstroom, South Africa. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from August-February, peaking from about September-December.
  • It lays 1-4, usually 2 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 16-18 days. The female sometimes leaves the nest to forage, but most of her food is brought to her by the male.
  • The chicks are cared for by both parents, leaving the nest at about 16-18 days old, becoming independent about 6-14 weeks later.


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.