Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Karoo Chat (Emarginata schlegelii)


French: Traquet du Karoo German: Bleichschmätzer Spanish: Colinegro del Karoo

Erithacus schlegelii


, 1855,

Damaraland, Namibia


Proposed race kobosensis (described from Kobos, Rehoboth district, Namibia) usually synonymized with race namaquensis. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. s. benguellensis (W. L. Sclater, 1928) – SW Angola and NW Namibia.
  • E. s. schlegelii (Wahlberg, 1855) – coastal Namibia.
  • E. s. namaquensis (W. L. Sclater, 1928) – S Namibia and NW South Africa (Northern Cape).
  • E. s. pollux (Hartlaub, 1866) – W & C South Africa (Western Cape E to W Free State).
  • Descriptive notes

    15–18 cm; 33 g. Nominate race is pale grey from head to upper rump and scapulars, shading to whitish on lower rump and uppertail-coverts; very indistinct paler... read more


    Vocalizations include rattling “tirr-tit-tat”, “tirr-tit-tat-tut” or “zip-zip-zik-zik-chirp”,... read more


    Scrubby and bushy plateaux, stony hillsides, and plains of the Karoo and Namib, especially the... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and seeds. Forages on ground, among stones, bushes or grass tufts, sallying down from low perch on bush, rock or fence wire to... read more


    Aug–Mar (peak Sept–Nov, in Western Cape Oct–Dec) in South Africa, season perhaps varying with rainfall. Nest a wide cup... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in gravel plains of Iona National Park, in Angola; sparse to frequent in Namibia. Common in South Africa, and considered the commonest bird... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Karoo Chat (Emarginata schlegelii). 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).