Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Tractrac Chat (Emarginata tractrac)


French: Traquet tractrac German: Oranjeschmätzer Spanish: Colinegro tractrac

Motacilla tractrac


, 1817,

Auteniquois country = probably Orange River, South Africa


Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. t. hoeschi (Niethammer, 1955) – SW Angola and NW Namibia.
  • E. t. albicans (Wahlberg, 1855) – W Namibia (W Damaraland, N Great Namaqualand).
  • E. t. barlowi (Roberts, 1937) – C & S Great Namaqualand, in S Namibia.
  • E. t. nebulosa (Clancey, 1962) – SW Namibia.
  • E. t. tractrac (Wilkes, 1817) – W South Africa (Northern Cape and SW Free State S to Karoo).
  • Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; 25 g. Nominate race is brownish to grey-brown above, slightly browner on ear-coverts, with white rump and uppertail-coverts; wings edged brighter; tail white... read more


    Song a discordant, slurred series of jarring chucks, churrs and gurgles. Alarm call a harsh “check... read more


    Open shrubby plains of the Karoo semi-desert and Namib desert, especially gravel plains with scant... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including road-killed tenebrionid beetles. Forages from low perch on bush or rock, sallying to ground to take prey; runs fast.


    Breeding condition Dec in Angola; breeds Aug–Apr, mainly Sept–Oct, in South Africa, but timing varies with rainfall. Nest a... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and widespread in most of range. In Skeleton Coast Park, in Namibia, in appropriate habitat, as many as ten individuals can be in view at once... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Tractrac Chat (Emarginata tractrac). 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 25 February 2020).