Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Kalahari Scrub-robin (Cercotrichas paena)


French: Agrobate du Kalahari German: Kalahariheckensänger Spanish: Alzacola del Kalahari

Erythropygia Paena

A. Smith

, 1836,

between Latakoo and the Tropic = north of Kuruman, northern Cape Province, South Africa


Geographical variation clinal, palest in NW and darkest in E; race damarensis sometimes subsumed within paena. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. benguellensis (E. J. O. Hartert, 1907) – SW Angola and NW Namibia.
  • C. p. damarensis (E. J. O. Hartert, 1907) – interior Namibia.
  • C. p. paena (A. Smith, 1836) – Botswana, W & SW Zimbabwe and N South Africa (Northern Cape, North West Province and N Limpopo).
  • C. p. oriens (Clancey, 1957) – N & NE South Africa (Free State E to W Limpopo).
  • Descriptive notes

    16 cm; 17–23 g. Like C. galactotes, but with greyer crown and nape, buff-edged blacker wings, more extensive black in tail, creamier-white chin and throat,... read more


    Song a prolonged series of phrases consisting of pleasing whistles and warbling chirps with many... read more


    Open sandveld with scattered low trees and bushes, including Colophospermum, Combretum... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly insects; regularly takes harvester termite workers (Hodotermitidae), which other robins tend to shun. Of eight stomachs from... read more


    Breeding-condition birds Jun–Jul in Angola; Oct–Mar in Namibia, Jul and Sept–Dec in Botswana and Sept–Dec in... read more


    Largely sedentary; local seasonal movements may occur in Zimbabwe and perhaps elsewhere, deserting... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common.

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Kalahari Scrub-robin (Cercotrichas paena). 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).