Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)


Amber Mountain Rock-thrush (Monticola erythronotus)


French: Monticole de l’Ambre German: Ambrerötel Spanish: Roquero de Lavauden

Cossypha sharpei erythronota


, 1929,

Amber Mountain, north Madagascar


See M. imerina. Often considered conspecific with M. sharpei, and recent molecular studies all argue for this based on low genetic divergence#R#R#R; however, differs markedly in morphology, having breast rich orange-rufous vs dull blue-grey (i.e. transition in colour is at lower throat; 3); rich blue-grey crown to nape sharply demarcated from dark chestnut-brown back to rump and scapulars vs duller (olive-tinged) blue-grey crown gently grading to dark grey-tinged olive-brownish back to rump (3); and larger size (effect size for both bill and wing in males 2.13; score 2); female mirrors male breast pattern by replacing long pale and dark streaks of M. sharpei with rusty breastband and broad straw-coloured streaks (ns). Monotypic.


Montagne d’Ambre (Mt Amber), in N Madagascar.

Descriptive notes

16 cm. Male is very like male M. sharpei, but with slightly larger bill, bluer on head and extending only to throat and nape; mantle to wing-coverts dull chestnut,... read more


Song poorly known, described as high-pitched and harmonious, or rich and short, often given at dusk... read more


Montane evergreen humid forest and mistforest in areas with discontinuous canopy, thus creating... read more

Food and feeding

Forages on ground and in understorey. Usually catches terrestrial prey in pounce from perch; sometimes takes aerial prey in agile sally. read more


Oct–Nov. Largest territory 2·5 ha, normally c. 1 ha. Nest similar to that of M. sharpei, placed in tree hollow, in... read more


Sedentary, so far as is known.

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Restricted-range species: present in East Malagasy Wet Forests EBA. Common within localized range.

Recommended citation

Collar, N. (2020). Amber Mountain Rock-thrush (Monticola erythronotus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).