Family Rockjumpers (Chaetopidae)

Near Threatened

Drakensberg Rockjumper (Chaetops aurantius)


French: Chétopse doré German: Orangebrust-Felsenspringer Spanish: Saltarrocas del Drakensberg

Chaetops aurantius

E. L. Layard

, 1867,

near Graaff-Reinet, west Eastern Cape, South Africa


Commonly treated as conspecific with C. frenatus (which see). Birds in Lesotho reportedly paler below than those in rest of range, but no subspecies described. Monotypic.


Lesotho highlands and adjacent South Africa in montane Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.

Descriptive notes

21–22 cm; 48–53 g. Striking ground-dwelling passerine with long and rounded white-tipped black tail, similar to C. frenatus. Male has crown and upper... read more


Song consists of series of various strident piping calls, notably a loud staccato “pree-pree-... read more


Steep-sloping alpine and subalpine grasslands with rocky outcrops, scree, rocky gulleys and passes... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates, including caterpillars and moths (Lepidoptera) and grasshoppers (Orthoptera); nestlings fed mainly with caterpillars, but at... read more


Jul–Apr, mainly Oct–Nov. Breeds as monogamous pair, in territory. Co-operative, with helpers. Nest, built by both sexes, a... read more


Resident or altitudinal migrant. Although reportedly resident in Lesotho, even above 3000 m,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Lesotho Highlands EBA. Locally common; global population estimated at 100,... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N., Robson, C. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Drakensberg Rockjumper (Chaetops aurantius). 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 19 March 2019).