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Tchagra australis (Brown-crowned tchagra, Three-streaked tchagra) 

Driestreeptjagra [Afrikaans]; Rooivlerktjagra [Afrikaans]; Eyimba (generic term for tchagra) [Kwangali]; Umnguphane (generic term for tchagra) [Swazi]; Mghubhana lowu tsongo [Tsonga]; Bruinkoptsjagra [Dutch]; Tchagra à tête brune [French]; Damaratschagra [German]; Picanço-assobiador-de-coroa-castanha [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

Tchagra australis (Brown-crowned tchagra, Three-streaked tchagra) 

Tchagra australis (Brown-crowned tchagra, Three-streaked tchagra) 

Brown-crowned tchagra. [photo Martin Goodey ©]

Brown-crowned tchagra, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Widespread across Sub-Saharan Africa, absent only from the Congo Basin and areas of Tanzania. In southern Africa it is locally common from the North-West Province, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga through Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana to much of Namibia. It is quite adaptible, occurring in a wide range of habitats including bushy savanna, arid thornbush, Miombo, Mopane and other broad-leaved woodlands, gallery forest and suburban gardens.

Distribution of Brown-crowned tchagra 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.  


It mainly eats insects and their larvae, doing most of its foraging on the ground, plucking prey from the base of plants. It also gleans them off leaves and branches in the canopy and occasionally catches prey aerially. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • It is a monogamous, solitary nester with males vigorously defending their territories using flight displays and calling.
  • Both sexes construct the nest, which is a shallow cup made of rootlets, fine twigs, coarse grass and leaf stems, cemented with spider web. It is usually placed in a fork or horizontal branch of a bush, well concealed by foliage.
Tchagra australis (Brown-crowned tchagra, Three-streaked tchagra)  

Brown-crowned tchagra feeding its chick, Sericea farm, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from about September-March, Peaking from October-December.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated mainly by the female for roughly 14-17 days. The male doesn't do much incubating, but he defends their territory and often feeds his mate at the nest.
  • The chicks are leave the nest at about 13-16 days old, after which they remain with their parents for at least 5 months.


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.