Family Crombecs and allies (Macrosphenidae)

Least Concern

Rockrunner (Achaetops pycnopygius)


French: Achétopse à flancs roux German: Klippensänger Spanish: Saltarrocas de Damara

Sphenoeacus pycnopygius

P. L. Sclater

, 1853,

Omaruru River, Damaraland, Namibia


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. p. pycnopygius (P. L. Sclater, 1853) – coastal SW Angola and N & C Namibia.
  • A. p. spadix Clancey, 1972 – Huíla and Namibe escarpment (SW Angola).
  • Descriptive notes

    16–17 cm; 24–34 g. Striking terrestrial babbler-like passerine, peppered black and white, with tawny rump and flanks and long dark tail. Male nominate race has... read more


    Song, by both sexes at dawn and dusk, mainly in breeding season, a rich mix of clear bubbling and... read more


    Sloping rocky areas, scree and outcrops with scattered thorn trees, especially along watercourses,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, in one case apparently a small scorpion (Scorpiones); young provisioned with beetles (Coleoptera), green caterpillars (... read more


    Breeding-condition males in Dec in Angola; season Nov–Apr in Namibia. Solitary and territorial. Nest a large thick untidy structure... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally not uncommon in Namibia and drier coastal areas in SW Angola. Population in Namibia estimated at 96,000 individuals, of which 7500 in three... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Rockrunner (Achaetops pycnopygius). 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 23 February 2019).