Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Bearded Scrub-robin (Tychaedon quadrivirgata)


French: Agrobate à moustaches German: Streifenkopf-Heckensänger Spanish: Alzacola bigotudo
Other common names: Eastern Bearded Scrub-robin

Thamnobia quadrivirgata


, 1879,

Kipini, lower Tana River, Kenya


Formerly treated as conspecific with T. barbata on basis of convergence of characters (apparently including vocal) in S Zambia and W Tanzania, and still not fully clear that separate species status is appropriate; reported overlap in these areas requires documentation, although no evidence of hybridization and the two have distinct habitat preferences. Record of apparent hybridization with T. signata in S of range. Proposed races erlangeri (S Somalia), brunnea (W of L Manyara), wilsoni (N KwaZulu-Natal) and rovumae (S Tanzania) all included in nominate, while race interna (R Zambezi, W of Victoria Falls) is here synonymized with greenwayi. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. q. quadrivirgata (Reichenow, 1879) – Bearded Scrub-robin – C & SE Kenya and S Somalia S to NE Namibia and E South Africa.
  • T. q. greenwayi (Moreau, 1938) – Zanzibar Scrub-robin – Zanzibar and Mafia I, off E Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    16 cm; 21–31 g. Resembles T. leucosticta but paler above, with dark rufous rump, larger tail spots, orange-cinnamon on breast and flanks; head pattern... read more


    Song, mostly from concealed perch in undergrowth, less often high perch, a series of varied phrases... read more


    Dry and moist sand forests and other evergreen (especially riverine) forest, Afzelia... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly insects; no record of fruit consumption. Of 16 stomachs and five faecal samples from Malawi and South Africa, 76% held beetles (... read more


    Dec–Feb in E Africa, Nov–Feb on Zanzibar, Nov–Jan in Malawi, Oct–Nov in Zambia and Sept–Dec in Zimbabwe; in... read more


    Sedentary, so far as known.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common throughout range. Recently extended range to Matobo National Park, in Zimbabwe. Common in coastal E Africa, but threatened by forest... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Bearded Scrub-robin (Tychaedon quadrivirgata). 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 26 January 2020).