Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Rusty-flanked Robin-chat (Dessonornis macclounii)


Taxonomy

French: Cossyphe de MacClounie German: Rostflankenrötel Spanish: Cosifa flanquirroja
Taxonomy:

Callene macclounii

Shelley

, 1903,

Nwenembe, 7500 feet [c. 2285 m], Malawi

.

Hitherto treated as conspecific with D. anomalus and D. mbuluensis, but (along with D. mbuluensis) differs from D. anomalus by its (olive-tinged) dull dark grey vs dull olive-rufous upperparts (2); clear white vs white-tinged narrow grey supercilium (3); blackish vs grey face and moustachial area (2); more intense white of throat (and extending more onto upper breast in D. macclounii) (ns[1–2]); less extensive grey of breast (much darker in D. mbuluensis) with more white on mid-belly (ns[1–2]); more rufous, less olive-ochreish lower flanks and undertail-coverts (ns[1–2]). Race grotei greyer on crown and back, more chestnut on rump, vent and in tail, and possibly distinct vocally; further study may accord it species rank. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. m. grotei Reichenow, 1932 – Grote's Robin-chat – E & S Tanzania (Ukaguru and Uluguru Mts to Udzungwa Mts S to Njombe and Songea).
  • D. m. macclounii (Shelley, 1903) – MacClounie's Robin-chat – SW Tanzania (Tukuyu), N Malawi (Nyika and Viphya Plateaux) and adjacent NE Zambia.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; 17·5–29 g (nominate), 22·5–28 g (grotei). Adult has mainly dark grey upperparts including forecrown (darker anteriorly), black or blackish-grey head-sides... read more

    Voice

    Song of nominate is similar to, or slightly shorter than, that of formerly conspecific D.... read more

    Habitat

    Montane evergreen forest, forest patches, edges and adjacent gardens, at 1000–2600 m; mainly above... read more

    Food and feeding

    Only insects reported. Forages mainly on ground or on logs, but frequently ascends into middle strata to glean on creeper-laden and moss-... read more

    Breeding

    Season Jul and Oct–Dec in Tanzania; late Nov–early Jan on Nyika Plateau, in Malawi, and from Oct on Zambian side. Territory size 0·25–2·5... read more

    Movements

    Sedentary on Nyika Plateau, in Malawi; retrapped birds moved 0–620 m (mean 150 m) from initial... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Restricted-range species: confined to Tanzania–Malawi mountains EBA. Overall range estimated to encompass c. 212,000 km². Population... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Rusty-flanked Robin-chat (Dessonornis macclounii). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/1344049 on 21 May 2019).