Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

White-fronted Black-chat (Oenanthe albifrons)


French: Traquet à front blanc German: Weißstirn-Steinschmätzer Spanish: Collalba frentiblanca

Saxicola albifrons


, 1837,

Tembien, Ethiopia


On basis of female plumage, nominate race and pachyrhyncha form one group, and the three other races another. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. a. frontalis (Swainson, 1837) – Western White-fronted Black-chat – S Senegal and Gambia E to N Cameroon.
  • O. a. limbata (Reichenow, 1921) – E Cameroon E to S Chad and Central African Republic.
  • O. a. clericalis (Hartlaub, 1882) – South Sudan (N to Juba and Moru), N DRCongo and N Uganda.
  • O. a. albifrons (Rüppell, 1837) – Ethiopian White-fronted Black-chat – Eritrea and N Ethiopia.
  • O. a. pachyrhyncha (Neumann, 1906) – S Ethiopia (lower Rift Valley S to Yabello).
  • Descriptive notes

    15–16 cm; 18–25 g. Male nominate race is slightly glossy black throughout, but forehead white, flight feathers silvery-grey below; bill and legs black. Female is... read more


    Song, from top of bush or tree, clear and far-reaching, a short rambling series of phrases with... read more


    Open savanna woodland, clearings and bushy terrain, especially with rocky areas, erosion gulleys... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects. Forages less on ground than do congeners, preferring to hunt by scanning from low perch on bush or stump and dropping to ground to... read more


    Mainly in dry season, Nov–Feb in Mali, Apr and probably Jul in Togo, Jan in Ghana, Dec–Apr in Nigeria, Jan–Feb in NE... read more


    Resident, but speculated as being an intra-African migrant in Mauritania.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally common. Up to 5 territories found in area of 75–100 ha in N Ethiopia. Uncommon in S Sudan. Present in Murchison Falls... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2019). White-fronted Black-chat (Oenanthe albifrons). 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 14 December 2019).