Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Karoo Scrub-robin (Tychaedon coryphoeus)


French: Agrobate coryphée German: Karooheckensänger Spanish: Alzacola del Karoo

Sylvia coryphœus


, 1817,

eastern Cape Province, South Africa


Race abbotti (R Fish, SW Namibia) treated here as synonym of nominate. Species name previously listed as coryphaeus, but original spelling recently demonstrated to be coryphoeus#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. c. coryphoeus (Vieillot, 1817) – C & S Namibia, W & C South Africa (E to W Free State and Eastern Cape) and W Lesotho.
  • T. c. cinerea (Macdonald, 1952) – SW Western Cape.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–17 cm; 19–22 g. Nominate race is dull grey-brown above and below, with white supercilium, narrow white sub­ocular crescent, whitish chin and throat,... read more


    Song (confined to breeding season) a series of unmusical husky irregular stutters, chirrups and... read more


    Scrub, with interspersed bare ground for foraging: Karoo scrub, drier fynbos such as renosterveld,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and fruit: ants, beetles (Chrysomelidae, Curculionidae, Elateridae, Scarabaeidae, Tenebrionidae), flies (Muscidae, Sepsidae), small... read more


    Generally Jul–Dec, earliest in W, peak laying in Sept–Oct; Aug–Feb (peak Nov) in Namibia; no evidence of double-brooding... read more


    Resident; occasional short-distance vagrancy.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common. Ubiquitous in strandveld in coastal Namaqualand and SW Cape.

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Karoo Scrub-robin (Tychaedon coryphoeus). 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 28 February 2020).