Family Rockjumpers (Chaetopidae)

Near Threatened

Cape Rockjumper (Chaetops frenatus)


French: Chétopse bridé German: Kapfelsenspringer Spanish: Saltarrocas de El Cabo

Malurus frenatus


, 1826,

Riviersonderend Mountains, Western Cape, South Africa


Commonly treated as conspecific with C. aurantius, but differs significantly in size, colour of underparts and extent of male’s black upper breast; the two species approach each other geographically to within 100–150 km. Monotypic.


Western Cape and SW Eastern Cape, in S South Africa.

Descriptive notes

23–25 cm; 54–60 g. Striking ground-dwelling passerine, streaked grey and black above, with chestnut rump and underparts, black throat with white moustache, long... read more


Song an often long series of penetrating piping notes, “psuwee-psuwee-psuwee-” and... read more


Rocky fynbos, from mountains down to sea-level, but particularly in windswept, high-rainfall areas... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates, occasionally small lizards and amphibians. Prey brought to nests at one site included caterpillars (30%), beetles (... read more


Jul–Jan, mainly Sept–Oct. Breeds as monogamous pair in permanent all-year territory of 4–11 ha. Co-operative, with... read more


Resident; possibly some altitudinal movements.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Cape Fynbos EBA. Locally common. Occurs at densities of 0·56–... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N., Robson, C. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Cape Rockjumper (Chaetops frenatus). 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).