Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Black Scrub-robin (Cercotrichas podobe)


French: Agrobate podobé German: Rußheckensänger Spanish: Alzacola negro

Turdus podobe

Statius Müller

, 1776,



Race melanoptera apparently intergrades with nominate in W Arabia, where sample of museum skins revealed 25% showing traces of rufous in wing. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. podobe (Statius Müller, 1776) – S Mauritania and N Senegal E to E Sudan and Eritrea; non-breeding also E Ethiopia, Djibouti and NW Somalia.
  • C. p. melanoptera (Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1833) – W, C & S Arabian Peninsula; apparently summer visitor in C Arabia#R. Also, regular summer visitor to S Israel, where it has recently bred#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–20 cm; 24–27 g. Long-legged scrub-robin with long, graduated and usually high-cocked tail. Nominate race is greyish-black, with black rump, wings and tail,... read more


    Song, given most of year, a series of far-carrying, variable, short (1–2 seconds) phrases... read more


    Hot arid subdesert and savanna with scattered shrubs or acacia bushes, groves of date palms and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet apparently unreported. Forages mainly on ground, probing seemingly bare sand or soil under bushes with some leaf litter; also in low... read more


    Feb–Jul in Senegal, to Sept in Mali; Apr–Jun at L Chad, on Nigeria-Chad border; May in Sudan, May and Jul–Aug in Ethiopia... read more


    Mainly resident. Apparently winter visitor to Somalia, where all records are in Nov–Mar;... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common across Sahel, and very common across C Sudan; common in S Yemen. Extending range towards N & E in Arabian Peninsula... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2019). Black Scrub-robin (Cercotrichas podobe). 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 8 December 2019).