Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Forest Rock-thrush (Monticola sharpei)


French: Monticole de forêt German: Madagaskarrötel Spanish: Roquero de Sharpe
Other common names: Madagascar Robin Chat, Benson's Rock-thrush (bensoni)

Cossypha Sharpei

G. R. Gray

, 1871,

forests east of Ambatondrazaka (Lake Alaotra), Madagascar


See M. imerina. Trend to include M. erythronotus as a race of present species resisted here. The form bensoni, treated as a species in HBW but subsequently claimed to be so genetically undifferentiated as to be a synonym of present species#R#R, is distinctly paler and song scratchier#R, hence retained here as a subspecies. Proposed races salomonseni, interioris and tsaratananae, from C & S parts of range, appear untenable. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. s. bensoni Farkas, 1971 – SC & SW Madagascar.
  • M. s. sharpei (G. R. Gray, 1871) – E & C highlands of Madagascar.
  • Unknown race in WC Madagascar#R.

    Descriptive notes

    16 cm; 20·5–29·5 g. Male has head to upper breast and mantle dull grey-blue, wings darker; remaining underparts orange; tail dark brown centrally and... read more


    Song of nominate race comprises various quiet, clear, wavering, melodious whistles, separated by... read more


    Nominate race found in canopy and on ground of middle-altitude, transitional plateau and montane... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, berries and fruit. Hawks terrestrial prey from low perch on branch, stump, stone or on ground, where may sit motionless for long... read more


    Oct–Feb; birds in breeding condition and adults carrying food and nesting material Sept and Nov, juveniles Nov–Dec, and several... read more


    Nominate race is sedentary, so far as is known, whereas bensoni shows possible evidence of... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Nominate race is confined to East Malagasy Wet Forests EBA; race bensoni is present in West Malagasy Dry Forests... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Forest Rock-thrush (Monticola sharpei). 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 26 January 2020).