Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Moorland Chat (Pinarochroa sordida)


French: Traquet afroalpin German: Almenschmätzer Spanish: Colinegro abisinio

Saxicola sordida


, 1837,

Simen, Ethiopia


Proposed race rudolfi (Mt Elgon, in Kenya) synonymized with ernesti. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. s. sordida (Rüppell, 1837) – extreme S Eritrea and Ethiopia.
  • P. s. ernesti Sharpe, 1900 – extreme E Uganda and W & C Kenya.
  • P. s. olimotiensis H. F. I. Elliott, 1945 – Crater Highlands (N Tanzania).
  • P. s. hypospodia Shelley, 1885 – Mt Kilimanjaro (N Tanzania).
  • Undetermined race (or perhaps olimotiensis) on Mt Meru (N Tanzania)#R.

    Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; 18–23 g. Rather dumpy-looking chat. Nominate race is uniform dark grey-brown above, with indistinct pale greyish supercilium, dark brown lores, ear-... read more


    Song described as loud metallic piping, or formless, unattractive series of various sparrow-like... read more


    High rocky alpine moorland and grassland from upper edge of forest (where occasionally race ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, including small beetles, their larvae, caterpillars and small snails. Typical chat foraging behaviour, perching low (e.g. on... read more


    Feb–Mar, May and Jul in Ethiopia; Jan, Feb, Jun–Sept and Dec in E Africa. Nest a large untidy cup made of grass, lined with... read more


    Sedentary, so far as known; some seasonal vertical movements may be expected.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant in highlands on both sides of Rift Valley in Ethiopia, but rare below 2100 m. In E Africa common within limited range;... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Moorland Chat (Pinarochroa sordida). 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).