Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-tailed Rock-thrush (Monticola saxatilis)


French: Monticole de roche German: Steinrötel Spanish: Roquero rojo
Other common names: Common Rock-thrush

Turdus saxatilis


, 1766,



Birds from E Turkey described as race coloratus, supposedly deeper rusty below, but this unconfirmed by recent field and museum studies. Monotypic.


Mountains from S & C Europe and NW Africa E to SW & C Asia (E to L Baikal, Inner Mongolia and C China); winters in sub-Saharan Africa.

Descriptive notes

16–19 cm; 40–65 g. Male has bright blue (slightly grey-tinged) head, upper mantle and throat, with ragged-edged white back patch, brownish-grey wings, rump and... read more


Song (by both sexes, mainly male) a measured series of varied phrases lasting 1·5–4... read more


Breeds on wild rocky mountainsides and high hills with scattered shrubs and sporadic grass cover,... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates, mainly insects; also some fruit and berries. In Europe, beetles of at least seven families, grasshoppers and caterpillars... read more


Apr–Jun in NW Africa, May–Jun in Europe and end Apr to mid-Jul in Israel; May–Jun in Afghanistan and Pakistan; May to... read more


Wholly migratory, unless some NW African breeders remain in area (e.g. on Tangier Peninsula);... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population in Europe in mid-1990s estimated at 32,362–44,924 pairs (highest numbers in Greece and Italy), with additional... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N. & Bonan, A. (2020). Rufous-tailed Rock-thrush (Monticola saxatilis). 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 28 February 2020).