Family Batises and Wattle-eyes (Platysteiridae)

Least Concern

Malawi Batis (Batis dimorpha)


French: Pririt du Malawi German: Malawischnäpper Spanish: Batis de Malawi

Pachyprora dimorpha


, 1893,

Mt Mulanje, Malawi


Usually treated as conspecific with B. capensis, but differs in its white vs rich rufous wing-flash and flanks in male (3); grey vs yellowish-olive-grey mantle, back and rump (2); black vs olive-grey carpal and scapulars (2); shorter bill (effect size, n=15 males, of mixed dimorpha and sola vs capensis and erythrophthalma −2.27, score 2). Population on Mt Namuli, in N Mozambique, currently placed in nominate but may represent a separate, as yet undescribed race. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. d. sola Lawson, 1964 – N Malawi and, locally, E Zambia (Nyika Plateau, Mukuta and Mafinga Mts).
  • B. d. dimorpha (Shelley, 1893) – mountains of C & S Malawi, and adjacent N Mozambique (Mt Namuli).
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 11·6–12·7 g. Small flycatcher-like and shrike-like bird with contrasting black, grey and white (and some chestnut) colours. Previously considered conspecific B... read more


    Little studied, but to date no differences reported between vocalizations of this species and those... read more


    Temperate forest; also in degraded forest and gardens, sometimes even in pine plantations. At all... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet not well known, but presumably similar to that of B. capensis. Forages at all levels of understorey, but occasionally as high... read more


    Breeds Sept–Feb, mainly Oct–Dec; single-brooded. Territorial. Nest a robust but small cup of dry plant material, bound with spider webs,... read more


    Mainly resident and strongly faithful to territory, but some wandering and altitudinal movements (... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common. The commonest Platysteiridae above 1400 m in Malawi, where overall density of c. 10 pairs/10 ha is reached in tall... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Malawi Batis (Batis dimorpha). 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 23 February 2020).