Fun Cape Robin-chat Facts For Kids

Ritika Katariya
Feb 29, 2024 By Ritika Katariya
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Cape robin-chat facts tell us that males have an orange neck and tail feathers.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

The Cape robin-chat (Cossypha caffra) is a native African bird found extensively in eastern regions like Namibia, Lesotho, Kenya, and other regions of South Africa. The Cape robin-chat (Cossypha caffra) is known by various interchangeable names like the robin-chat Cossypha caffra, the Cape robin-chat Cossypha, Caffra Cape robin-chat, Chat Cossypha caffra Cape, and finally, the robin-chat. It is a member of the Old World. Found in scrub, they are popularly known for their early morning song that commences even before the sunrise, right through the canopy of the forest. The Cape robin-chat (Cossypha caffra) is a shy bird that quickly runs into cover when it senses danger. It can become very tame around humans. As for courtship, the Cape robin-chat is monogamous and mates only once and maintaining the same territory for life. They are passerines, and the Cape robin-chat call is shrill and loud and it is meant to display protection for their territory. They have the most unique habitats as not only do they dwell in thick forest cover, gardens and parks, but they are also spotted in remote scrubs known as karoo and fynbos. It rests up to 9.84 ft (3 m) above ground in dense cover.

Due to the loss of habitat, they have adapted well to human surroundings. Although the Caffra Cape robin-chat is shy, it cannot be mistaken for being dumb. They are very smart birds who skilfully strategize on protecting themselves and their territories from any threats. While nesting, the Cossypha caffra Cape robin makes sure that their nests are concealed behind low-rise vegetation. The Cossypha caffra Cape robin uses bigger, non-predatory birds to sense any potential danger well ahead of time. This species of Cape robin-chat residing in cosmopolitan areas might frequent your garden looking for some food. Make sure to keep an eye and be kind to them by offering them seeds, berries, grains, or any kinds of edibles that deem fit for their tiny build.  

Did you find these Cape robin-chat (Cossypha caffra) facts intriguing? Check out some more fun bird facts about the eastern kingbird and blue jay.

Cape Robin-Chat Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Cape robin-chat?

Cape robin-chats are Passerine birds belonging to the Muscicapidae family of robins.

What class of animal does a Cape robin-chat belong to?

These native African birds belong to the class Aves.

How many Cape robin-chats are there in the world?

The exact distribution of Cape robin-chats in the world is unknown due to their high rate of occurrence. However, they occur abundantly in the sites that they are located in, for example, eastern Africa Namibia, Kenya, Lesotho, and Uganda. They have shown a healthy rate of growth in the past years.

Where does a Cape robin-chat live?

The Cape robin-chat birds distribution lies in southern and eastern Africa Namibia, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, the Western Cape, Swaziland, and Cape Town.

What is a Cape robin-chat's habitat?

The Cape robin habitat can range across scrubs, forests, karoo, fynbos, gardens, and parks. In urban areas, the Cape robin chat may even enter a garden in search of food.

Who does a Cape robin-chat live with?

In their winter refuges, this Old World bird species may coexist with several other species of robin and other members of the Muscicapidaefamily.

How long does a Cape robin-chat live?

The life span of a Cape robin-chat (Cossypha caffra) can range from three to five years. The longest known Cape robin-chat was known to live for 15 years.

How do they reproduce?

Two to three eggs are laid in a day and only the female broods the eggs. Incubation for the eggs lasts 18 days while the breeding season or breeding territory is occupied for five years. The nest is close to the ground. The material of the nest consists of animal hair, soil clumps, dead leaves, and litter found in the scrub. One out of the two Cape robin-chat parents will then saturate its belly with moisture to shape the material of the nest in a comfortable way. These nests are covered behind low-rise vegetation. Caffra Cape robin-chat nests August to January in most parts of southern Africa and may nest at any time of the year as well, however this bird nests from July to December in the south-western Cape.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Cape robin-chat (Cossypha caffra) birds is Least Concern (LC) according to the IUCN.

Cape Robin-Chat Fun Facts

What does Cape robin-chats look like?

According to the description, both sexes of Cape robin-chats appear to be slightly brown and gray. Males have vibrant rusty orange necks as well as tail feathers. They have a black eye patch that is paired with white eyebrows elongated upwards. There isn't much of a difference between the two sexes except that females have comparatively paler underparts. Cape robin-chat description tells us that is the only robin-chat with a gray belly.

Cape Robin-Chat

How cute are they?

The Cossypha caffra Cape robin are super adorable birds because of their friendliness. They might appear to be shy at first but they are very playful behind those forest covers.

How do they communicate?

The most common species of South Africa-Cape robin-chat communicates through short songs. The song is a typical thrush-like series of harsh low but inquisitive notes. The Cape robin-chat sound is composed of matching rhythm of calls. The Afrikaans name for this species is, 'Jan Frederik' which is believed to be in synch with the rhythm produced by the Caffra Cape robin-chat.

How big is a Cape robin-chat?

The Cossypha caffra Cape robin is one of the smaller birds among robins.

How fast can a Cape robin-chat fly?

The Cossypha caffra Cape robin-chat top speed is as low as 1 mph (1.7 kph). They cannot fly too quickly.

How much does a Cape robin-chat weigh?

The Caffra Cape robin-chat weighs around 0.9-1.2 oz (25–34 g). It weighs almost three times less than the biggest member of its species, the American robin which weighs around 2.7 oz (77 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The orange neck Cape robin-chat male and the Cape robin-chat female are both known by its common name.

What would you call a baby Cape robin-chat?

These brown birds lay two to three eggs on average. Like many other birds of the world, Cape robin-chats are referred to as nestlings when they are still inside their nest and fledglings when they are out of their nest.

What do they eat?

The chat Cape robin eats seeds, leaves, seasonal fruits fallen on the ground. This is because their nest is usually close to the ground. Tiny frogs, beetles, ants, and lizards are spotted on scrub forages on the ground. However, they can be attacked by snakes.

Are they poisonous?

The Cape robin chat (Cossypha caffra) bird is not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Being the most common species of South Africa, the Cape robin (Cossypha caffra) is no stranger to humans.

Did you know...

As per description, a  brood parasite for the robin-chat is the red-chested cuckoo.

Although it has a harsh low voice texture, the Cape robin-chat (Cossypha caffra) is a notorious mimicker and will skilfully mimic other birds as well sounds of objects along the forest edges like passing vehicles.

The Afrikaans name for the Cape robin-chat bird is JAN Frederik.

The Cape robin-chat (Cossypha caffra) bird was voted as Africa's most favorite bird in 2015.

Incubation lasts 18 days and after the completion of 18 days, one of the parents saturates their belly with moisture to shape the material of the nest for the eggs.

What is the difference between a Cape robin-chat and hummingbird?

Cape robins cannot fly backward and this bird is comparatively bigger and different in appearance.

Is the Cape robin-chat endangered?

The Cape robin-chat range map is pretty diverse across southern Africa and they are among the most common bird species in South Africa and have even adapted to the cosmopolitan world. They are not endangered as of yet.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these hummingbird facts and vesper sparrow facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Cape robin chat coloring pages.

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Written by Ritika Katariya

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritika Katariya picture

Ritika KatariyaBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A dedicated content writer and language enthusiast, Ritika holds a Bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from Fergusson College. With a keen interest in linguistics and literary adaptations, she has conducted extensive research in these domains. Beyond her academic pursuits, Ritika actively volunteers at her university, providing academic and on-campus assistance to fellow students.

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