Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Rüppell's Robin-chat (Cossypha semirufa)


French: Cossyphe de Rüppell German: Braunrückenrötel Spanish: Cosifa de Rüppell

Petrocincla semirufa


, 1840,



Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. semirufa (Rüppell, 1840) – Eritrea and W & S Ethiopia S to N Kenya (Moyale, Mt Marsabit), possibly SE South Sudan (Boma National Park#R).
  • C. s. donaldsoni Sharpe, 1895 – EC Ethiopia.
  • C. s. intercedens (Cabanis, 1878) – C & S Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–19 cm; 22–31 g. Nominate race has black head with long, broad white supercilium, olive-brown mantle to lower back and scapulars, dark brown wings, orange-... read more


    Highly vocal in evening, may sing continuously from cover. Song powerful and beautiful, mixing rich... read more


    Montane and submontane evergreen forest and edge, including riverine thickets and tangles, wooded... read more

    Food and feeding

    Only insects recorded, including beetles, moths, caterpillars, mantises and grasshoppers. Attends driver-ant swarms; sometimes associates... read more


    Mar–Aug in Ethiopia; Mar–Jun (long rains) and one record Dec in Kenya. Nest an open cup of dead twigs, leaf skeletons, rootlets... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common and locally abundant throughout range. Especially common in forests on Chyulu Hills, in Kenya. In Tanzania, present in Arusha... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2019). Rüppell's Robin-chat (Cossypha semirufa). 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 15 November 2019).