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Cossypha dichroa (Chorister robin-chat, Chorister robin) 

Lawaaimakerjanfrederik [Afrikaans]; Ugagasisi [Xhosa]; Chorister-lawaaimaker [Dutch]; Cossyphe choriste [French]; Lärmrötel [German]; Cossifa-de-cabeça-preta [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: Muscicapidae > Genus: Cossypha

Cossypha dichroa (Chorister robin-chat, Chorister robin)  Cossypha dichroa (Chorister robin-chat, Chorister robin

Chorister robin-chat, Birds of Eden, South Africa. [photo Duncan Robertson ©]

Chorister robin-chat, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. [photo Alan Manson ©]

For information about this species, see www.birdforum.net/opus/Chorister_Robin_Chat

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to southern Africa, occurring from the Limpopo Province along the eastern escarpment to KwaZulu-Natal, and the lowland forest of the Eastern Cape, marginally extending into the Western Cape. It generally prefers Afromontane evergreen forest with high annual rainfall (as well as adjacent suburban gardens), although in Winter it may move into drier forest habitats.

Distribution of Chorister robin-chat 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.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Red-chested cuckoo.


It mainly invertebrates taken from the ground or gleaned from vegetation, supplemented with drupes and berries taken from tree and bush foliage. It often follows antelope, cows and Red driver ant (Dorylus helvolus) swarms, hawking the insects they disturb. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Invertebrates
  • Fruit
    • Asparagus
    • Hedychium (ginger lily)
    • Celtis (white-stinkwood)
    • Rubus (blackberry)
    • Scutia myrtina (Cat-thorn)
    • Kiggelaria africana (Wild-peach)
    • Scolopia (red-pear)
    • Cassipourea (onionwood)
    • Psidium (guava)
    • Lantana camara (Cherry-pie)
    • Solanum mauritanium (Bugweed)
    • Burchellia bubalina (Wild-pomegranate)


  • The nest is built solely by the female, consisting of a loose pad of vegetation with a cup-shaped cavity in its centre, the depth of which varies from about 2.5-5.0 cm. It can be built of either one or a combination of the following materials: moss root systems, leaf midribs, lichen, forest grass and the aerial roots of strangler figs (Ficus). It is typically placed in a rotten hole or crevice in a tree or hollow stump, anywhere from 1-13 metres above ground.
  • Egg-laying season is from about October-November.
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 15-19 days.
  • The chicks are regularly brooded by the female for the first few days of their lives, and are fed by both parents. In one observation they left the nest after 14 days, and it is though they remain dependent on their parents for up to 6 weeks more.


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.