Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Mbulu Robin-chat (Dessonornis mbuluensis)


French: Cossyphe du Mbulu German: Tansaniarötel Spanish: Cosifa de Mbulu

Bessonornis macclounii mbuluensis

C. H. B. Grant and Mackworth-Praed

, 1937,

Mbulu district, Tanzania


Hitherto treated as conspecific with D. anomalus and D. macclounii, but differs from the former in characters given under D. macclounii, and from latter in its broader white supercilium, especially above lores (1); shorter white chin and throat, not extending onto breast (2); much darker grey breast and flanks (2); darker upperparts (ns[1]); shade darker rufous-chestnut undertail-coverts and undertail (ns[1]); and two-note vs three- to seven-note song#R, not responding to playback of geographically and morphologically closest form D. m. grotei (allow at least 2). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Mbulu Highlands, in NC Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

14–14·5 cm. Adult has upper head to upperparts and wings black or blackish grey, with long prominent white supercilium extending from forehead to rear of ear-coverts, black... read more


Song a two-note whistle, “fi-fúúúúr”, the first note short, but the second much longer and... read more


Montane evergreen forest, forest patches, edges and adjacent gardens. Altitudinal range... read more

Food and feeding

Diet presumably insects, but no published information. Forages on ground or low in vegetation, alone or in pairs, often attending ant... read more


Nothing known.


Probably sedentary or mainly so.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Small overall range, estimated at 5300 km². Principally known Nou Forest, in the Mbulu Highlands of NC Tanzania, but populations may... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Mbulu Robin-chat (Dessonornis mbuluensis). 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).