Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Southern Anteater-chat (Myrmecocichla formicivora)


French: Traquet fourmilier German: Termitenschmätzer Spanish: Zorzal hormiguero meridional
Other common names: Ant-eating Chat

Motacilla formicivora


, 1817,

near the Sondag and Swartkop Rivers, South Africa


Has been suggested to be possibly conspecific with M. aethiops. Monotypic.


Namibia E to extreme W Zimbabwe, S to South Africa, W Swaziland and lowlands of extreme W Lesotho.

Descriptive notes

17–18 cm; 35–51 g. Very like M. aethiops, but very dark greyish-brown to blackish with faint scaling or paler edges, and male with white (often hidden)... read more


Song (by both sexes, female only when excited) a usually sustained series of phrases that are... read more


Open grassy country, especially in rolling hills, and semi-desert scrub, commonest in drier,... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly ants and termites. Near Bloemfontein, in South Africa, hymenopterans (almost exclusively ants) were numerically dominant in summer... read more


Sept–Dec in Botswana, and Aug–Mar and Apr (peak Oct–Dec) in South Africa; two or three broods. Young of first brood help... read more


Resident. In South Africa, large turnover of individuals observed at site in Free State, and is... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Relatively common to very common throughout range, but becomes scarcer in E, including Lesotho; only two records in Zimbabwe. May have suffered in... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N. (2019). Southern Anteater-chat (Myrmecocichla formicivora). 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 7 December 2019).