Family Batises and Wattle-eyes (Platysteiridae)

Least Concern

Cape Batis (Batis capensis)


French: Pririt du Cap German: Kapschnäpper Spanish: Batis de El Cabo

Muscicapa capensis


, 1766,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Sometimes considered conspecific with B. reichenowi. Usually treated as conspecific with B. dimorpha. Nominate race and hollidayi possibly overlap geographically in E South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal), indicating that latter may represent separate species; study needed. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. c. kennedyi Smithers & Paterson, 1956 – SW & C Zimbabwe.
  • B. c. erythrophthalma Swynnerton, 1907 – E highlands of Zimbabwe and adjacent Mozambique.
  • B. c. hollidayi Clancey, 1952 – NE South Africa (S from Soutpansberg), Swaziland and adjacent S Mozambique (Lebombo Highlands).
  • B. c. capensis (Linnaeus, 1766) – S South Africa (Western Cape E to W KwaZulu-Natal) and E Lesotho.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 8·9–15·6 g. Small flycatcher-like and shrike-like bird with contrasting black, grey and white (and some chestnut) colours. Male nominate... read more


    Loud monotonous whistle, uttered by both male and female; audible differences exist between races (... read more


    Inhabits forest edges, clearings, dense bush, well-treed areas with pines, wooded gorges and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet insects and other arthropods: flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera), lepidopterans and dictyopterans recorded, also... read more


    Breeds Sept–Feb, mainly Oct–Dec (except in E Cape of South Africa, where peak is earlier); 1–2 broods per year, although... read more


    Mainly resident, but some movement and wandering during non-breeding season. Some altitudinal... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common. Adaptable, accepts exotic vegetation; can survive in tiny isolated forest fragments, some so small that they... read more

    Recommended citation

    Louette, M. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Cape Batis (Batis capensis). 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 28 March 2020).