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Achaetops pycnopygius (Rockrunner) 

RotsvoŽl [Afrikaans]; Roodstuit-rotszanger [Dutch]; Achťtopse ŗ flancs roux [French]; Klippensšnger, Damara-felsenspringer [German]; Salta-pedras [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: Sylviidae 

Achaetops pycnopygius (Rockrunner)   

Rockrunner, Waterberg, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]


Distribution and habitat

Near endemic to southern Africa, with its population centered on west-central Namibia, extending marginally into Angola. It is fairly common yet localised, generally preferring hillsides, scree slopes and rocky outcrops.

Distribution of Rockrunner 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).


It does almost all of its foraging on the ground, pretty much exclusively eating invertebrates, such as grasshoppers and caterpillars.


  • The nest is an open cup built of grass of various lengths, with fine grass stems in the inside and more coarse stems on the outside. It is typically woven into the center of a large grass tuft, only visible from above.
  • Egg-laying season is from November-March.
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, usually 3 eggs, which were incubated for 15 in one observation.
  • The chicks are fed by both adults, leaving the nest before they can fly and hiding in the nearby vegetation and rocks.


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.