Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Snowy-crowned Robin-chat (Cossypha niveicapilla)


French: Cossyphe à calotte neigeuse German: Schneescheitelrötel Spanish: Cosifa coroninívea

Turdus niveicapilla


, 1838,



Black-backed birds (dominant in L Victoria Basin) commonly separated as race melanonota, but intergradation with greyer-backed individuals so extensive as to render naming of geographical races problematic. Treated as monotypic.


SC Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia and Sierra Leone E to SW & SE Sudan, S South Sudan and W Ethiopia, S to Cameroon and L Victoria Basin; also Gabon, S Congo, extreme SW DRCongo and extreme NW & NE Angola.

Descriptive notes

20·5–22 cm; 34–45 g. Notably long-tailed. Central crown and hindcrown are white, dotted with black (variable, dependent on degree of feather wear), rest of... read more


Song a fast, almost unbroken string of mimicry of other birds, with variations and powerful... read more


Closed thickets in savanna, rank growth along streams, gallery forests and, in climatically wetter... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates and small fruits. Stomachs of 16 birds from DRCongo held termites, beetles, ants, caterpillars, mantises, small millipedes... read more


May–Sept, chiefly Jul–Aug, in W Africa; in all months, peak Mar, in rest of range; most E African records during long rains (... read more


Mainly sedentary, so far as known. Local seasonal displacements suspected in parts of Sudan, and a... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Sparse in main Upper and Lower Guinea forest areas and in Angola, but locally fairly common in Sudan; frequent to common in W Ethiopia and SW... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N. (2020). Snowy-crowned Robin-chat (Cossypha niveicapilla). 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).