Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Near Threatened

Olive-flanked Robin-chat (Dessonornis anomalus)


French: Cossyphe à flancs olive German: Olivflankenrötel Spanish: Cosifa anómala
Other common names: Olive-flanked Ground Robin

Callene anomala


, 1893,

Mulanje Plateau, Malawi


Recently placed by several authorities in genus Dryocichloides; also sometimes placed in Alethe. Hitherto treated as conspecific with D. macclounii and D. mbuluensis (see both). Proposed race gurue (Mt Namuli, in N Mozambique) synonymized. Monotypic.


Mt Mulanje (S Malawi) and Mt Namuli and Mt Chiperone (N Mozambique).

Descriptive notes

14–15 cm; 21–28·1 g. Adult is olive-brown from crown to mid-back and darker wings, shading to chestnut rump and chestnut-brown tail; grey forehead and pre-ocular supercilium... read more


Song a series of a standard phrase consisting of 4–7 simple high whistles, “one-three-... read more


Inhabits the dense understorey of montane and mid-altitude rainforest, at 1000–2300 m on Mt Mulanje... read more

Food and feeding

Only insects reported. Forages mainly on ground or on logs, but also in low shrubs; occasionally sallies to bark. Regularly flicks wings... read more


No published information. Territory size 1–1·5 ha on Muretha Plateau (Mt Namuli, Mozambique).


Probably sedentary or mainly so, but recorded at 900 m in dry season (Aug) on Mt Mulanje (Malawi),... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered to be Near Threatened. Restricted-range species: confined to Tanzania–Malawi mountains EBA. Overall population is wholly... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Olive-flanked Robin-chat (Dessonornis anomalus). 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 17 February 2020).