Family Batises and Wattle-eyes (Platysteiridae)

Least Concern

Chinspot Batis (Batis molitor)


French: Pririt molitor German: Weißflankenschnäpper Spanish: Batis molitor

Muscicapa molitor


, 1850,

#R#R, Baviaans River, eastern Cape Province, South Africa


Replaced in E African lowlands by B. soror, which was formerly considered a race of present species (although apparently some geographical overlap in SE Tanzania). Marginal range overlap with B. pririt from N Namibia E to N South Africa; some interaction between the two (including imitation of call in order to establish interspecific territories), also interspecific response to playback of sounds, recorded by researchers. Proposed races montana (Kilimanjaro), taruensis (SE Kenya) and mystica (Ukamba, in Kenya) all included in puella. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. m. pintoi Lawson, 1966 – SE Gabon, Congo (Djambala), Angola (Dinge area of Cabinda, also inland areas), SW DRCongo (Ngombe, in extreme W Kasai, possibly also extreme SW Katanga) and NW Zambia (Mwinilunga area).
  • B. m. puella Reichenow, 1893 – S South Sudan (Didinga Mts), and NE DRCongo (Kivu), Uganda and Rwanda E to W & S Kenya and N Tanzania (E to Kilimanjaro region).
  • B. m. palliditergum Clancey, 1955 – SE DRCongo (Katanga), Zambia, Malawi and S Tanzania S to S Angola (Cunene and Namibe), N Namibia, N & E Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique (middle Zambezi and SW regions), N South Africa and N Lesotho.
  • B. m. molitor (Küster, 1850) – S Mozambique, Swaziland and E South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal S to Port Elizabeth region of Eastern Cape).
  • Descriptive notes

    11–13 cm; 5–14 g (lower limit perhaps exceptional). Small flycatcher-like and shrike-like bird with contrasting black, grey and white (and some rufous) colours.... read more


    Very loud, plaintive whistle mostly of 2 or 3 notes (variable) in descending keys; in C Africa,... read more


    Variety of wooded habitats, including large gardens. Occurs in miombo, thickets, savanna, rarely in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet arthropods, especially insects: lepidopterans, flies (Diptera), hymenopterans, beetles (Coleoptera), orthopterans and termites (... read more


    Breeds Mar, Sept and Dec in Kenya, Dec–Jan and Mar in DRCongo (Kivu), Aug–Nov in Zambia and Sept–Nov in Angola; in S... read more


    Resident; some increase in numbers in areas close to N limit in Kenya during rainy season, and... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common over most of its range; rare in Lesotho. Some recorded densities are 1 pair/5 ha or 1 pair/15 ha in Nylsvlei (South Africa); another figure... read more

    Recommended citation

    Louette, M. (2020). Chinspot Batis (Batis molitor). 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 23 February 2020).