Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Northern Anteater-chat (Myrmecocichla aethiops)


French: Traquet brun German: Rußschmätzer Spanish: Zorzal hormiguero septentrional
Other common names: Anteater Chat

Myrmecocichla aethiops


, 1851,

#R, Senegal


Has been suggested to be possibly conspecific with M. formicivora. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. a. aethiops Cabanis, 1851 – S Mauritania, N & C Senegal and Gambia E to CS Chad.
  • M. a. sudanensis Lynes, 1920 – SW & SC Sudan (Darfur, Kordofan).
  • M. a. cryptoleuca Sharpe, 1891 – WC, C and S Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–19 cm; 47–66 g. Plumage is blackish-brown throughout, with bases of flight-feathers extensively white (showing strongly in flight); bill and legs black. Sexes... read more


    Song a rolling, musical, rather monotonous protracted mix of clear whistles and guttural chirps and... read more


    Short-grass terrain, usually with bushes and almost always with termitaria, such as savannas in W... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly insects, such as moths, termites, beetles, ants, grasshoppers and caterpillars; also spiders, small vertebrates; occasionally fruits... read more


    Generally Jul–Sept in W Africa, but fledglings also in May in Nigeria; Jun–Aug in Sudan; mainly during early to middle rainy... read more


    Sedentary in Kenya. In Mauritania may move N in rains; in Gambia visits immediately after rains,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common. W & C races widespread but only locally common, e.g. in Sudan common up to 1700 m in Darfur and at 2440 m on Jebel Marra; large... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Northern Anteater-chat (Myrmecocichla aethiops). 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).