Family Bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae)

Least Concern

Southern Tchagra (Tchagra tchagra)


French: Tchagra du Cap German: Kaptschagra Spanish: Chagra de El Cabo

Thamnophilus tchagra


, 1816,

“Senegal ... to Cafferland” = Gamtoos River, South Africa


Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. t. natalensis (Reichenow, 1903) – NE South Africa (E Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal) and W Swaziland; probably S Mozambique.
  • T. t. caffrariae Quickelberge, 1967 – Eastern Cape from KwaZulu-Natal border S to area of R Great Fish.
  • T. t. tchagra (Vieillot, 1816) – S South Africa from S Western Cape E to S Eastern Cape (E to Uitenhage region).
  • Descriptive notes

    20–22 cm; 38–54 g. Nominate race has crown rich dark brown, broad whitish superciliary stripe, black lores and black stripe behind eye (lower eyelid feather­... read more


    Song of male, delivered in flight and preceded by wing-fripping, a trill followed by short... read more


    Ecotonal scrub between grassland and montane, riparian, gulley and coastal forest; dense littoral... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), corn crickets (Orthoptera) and larvae; also berries and small molluscs. Forages on ground, where... read more


    Season Sept–Dec in KwaZulu-Natal and Aug–Mar (mainly Sept–Nov) in Western Cape and Eastern Cape; sometimes double-brooded... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon and local in N of range, commoner in S. In SW Cape occurs W to Hermanus and Robertson and N to Beaufort West; common in Little Karoo; fairly... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. (2020). Southern Tchagra (Tchagra tchagra). 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 24 February 2020).