Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Near Threatened

Sentinel Rock-thrush (Monticola explorator)


French: Monticole espion German: Langzehenrötel Spanish: Roquero centinela

Turdus explorator


, 1818,

mountains of the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Darker birds from Lesotho E to S Mozambique described as race tenebriformis, but characters appear inconstant and variation clinal. Monotypic.


E & S South Africa, Lesotho, W Swaziland and extreme S Mozambique.

Descriptive notes

16·5–18 cm. Male has head, mantle to lower back, scapulars and breast greyish-blue, rump and rest of underparts orange-brown, wings slaty with buffy fringes, central... read more


Song (male) a short series of a standard phrase consisting of bold, lively warble lasting 3 seconds... read more


Upland grassland and sheep pasture with scattered rocky outcrops and ridges, stony or boulder-... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, including ants, beetles, moths, caterpillars and pupae, also fruit and seeds; millipedes fed to young. Stomachs of five birds from... read more


In South Africa, Oct–Dec in N of range, Sept–Dec in KwaZulu-Natal and Aug–Oct in Western Cape; Sept–Feb in Lesotho... read more


Some altitudinal movement, with post-breeding descent to lower levels in S; occasionally winters at... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Fairly common above 1200 m in South Africa; common above 2500 m in Lesotho, where it thrives in overgrazed... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Sentinel Rock-thrush (Monticola explorator). 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 16 December 2019).