Family Spot-throat and allies (Modulatricidae)

Least Concern

Grey-chested Kakamega (Kakamega poliothorax)


French: Kakameg à poitrine grise German: Graubrustsopranist Spanish: Tordina de Kakamega
Other common names: Grey-chested Babbler, Grey-chested Illadopsis, Thrush-babbler

Alethe poliothorax


, 1900,

Bangwa [c. 5°15’ N 10°25’ E], Cameroon


Has been placed in genus Malacocincla, or speculated to belong in Modulatrix. Despite fragmented distribution, geographical variation virtually non-existent. Monotypic.


SE Nigeria, W Cameroon and Bioko; E DRCongo, W Uganda, SW Rwanda, Burundi and W Kenya.

Descriptive notes

16·5 cm; 30–42 g. Thrush-like passerine, reddish-brown above, grey and white below, with rather long stout legs; very shy. Crown and forehead are dark rufous-... read more


Song, from low in vegetation and singly (sometimes within a group, but not in chorus), a loud,... read more


Mature and secondary montane forest, especially near streams, also (DRCongo) transition forest and... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates. Usually found singly or in pairs, on or near ground. Turns over dead leaves and creeps about quietly and unobtrusively in... read more


Breeding-condition birds in Apr and Nov in Cameroon and Jan–Feb and April in DRCongo; increase in singing intensity and alarm-calling... read more


Resident; record at 580 m on Mt Cameroon may have involved an elevational migrant.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally uncommon to rare, but locally common. Common in SE Nigeria; widespread and generally uncommon in W Cameroon. Uncommon to... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2020). Grey-chested Kakamega (Kakamega poliothorax). 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 February 2020).