Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata)


French: Tarier pie German: Elsterschmätzer Spanish: Tarabilla pía

Motacilla Caprata


, 1766,

Luzon, Philippines


Has been suggested that distinctiveness of female plumages of various insular populations of races fruticola and pyrrhonotus may warrant naming of additional races, but differences appear slight and possibly due to individual variation or age factors. Also postulated that population on Kisar (Lesser Sundas), currently ascribed to pyrrhonotus, may represent another unnamed race#R. Some authorities subsume races belensis and wahgiensis within aethiops#R. Very limited genetic sampling suggests reasonably deep divergence between mainland Asia (Nepal) and Indonesian (Timor) populations#R; further study required. Sixteen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. c. rossorum (E. J. O. Hartert, 1910) – E Iran and SC Kazakhstan S to Afghanistan; non-breeding SW Asia (vagrant Arabia, Israel).
  • S. c. bicolor Sykes, 1832 – Pakistan, Kashmir, N India (S to Gujarat, E to Uttarakhand and West Bengal) and S Nepal; non-breeding NC & S Pakistan and N & C India.
  • S. c. burmanicus E. C. S. Baker, 1922 – C & SE India E to Myanmar and S China (S Sichuan, Yunnan), S to Thailand and Indochina.
  • S. c. nilgiriensis Whistler, 1940 – SW India (S Western Ghats).
  • S. c. atratus (Blyth, 1851) – C Sri Lanka.
  • S. c. caprata (Linnaeus, 1766) – Luzon, Mindoro and Lubang, in N Philippines.
  • S. c. randi Parkes, 1960 – C Philippines (Marinduque, Ticao, Masbate, Negros, Cebu, Bantayan, Camotes, Bohol, Siquijor, probably Tablas and Panay).
  • S. c. anderseni Salomonsen, 1953 – Biliran, Leyte, Camiguin and Mindanao, in E & S Philippines.
  • S. c. fruticola Horsfield, 1821 – Java E to Flores and Alor.
  • S. c. francki Rensch, 1931 – Sumba I.
  • S. c. pyrrhonotus (Vieillot, 1818) – E Lesser Sundas (Wetar, Kisar, Timor, Semau, Savu, Roti).
  • S. c. albonotatus (Stresemann, 1912) – Sulawesi (except N peninsula), Butung and Selayar I.
  • S. c. cognatus Mayr, 1944 – Babar I.
  • S. c. belensis Rand, 1940 – WC New Guinea.
  • S. c. aethiops (P. L. Sclater, 1880) – N New Guinea and Bismarck Archipelago.
  • S. c. wahgiensis Mayr & Gilliard, 1951 – EC & E New Guinea.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; 14–26 g. Male nominate race is glossy black, with long white wing-covert patch, white rump, white belly centre to vent; in fresh plumage lightly scaled... read more


    Song, from perch, occasionally in parachuting flight with slow wingbeats (white axillaries and rump... read more


    Open terrain with some low to mid-height vegetation (singing from trees as high as 20 m, New Guinea... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small insects and their larvae, including beetles, caterpillars, moths, midges and ants, also earthworms; once seen with berry in bill.... read more


    Apr–Jun in Afghanistan and C Asia, Mar–May and Jul–Aug in Pakistan, Feb–May in India and Apr–Jun in Sri Lanka... read more


    Largely migratory in W of range; resident in E. Populations from Transcaspia, E Iran and... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common at low elevations, Afghanistan, and in many parts of Central Asia. Common in Indian Subcontinent, locally abundant in N; common in grassy... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata). 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).