Rueppell's Robin Chats

Robin-chat InformationRobin-chat Species Photo Gallery

The Rueppell’s Robin Chats (Cossypha semirufa) – or Rüppell’s Robin Chats or Lesser/Black-tailed Robin Chats – are found in the following East African countries: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania; where they inhabit subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and shrubland.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • Cossypha semirufa semirufa (Rüppell, 1840) – Nominate Form
    • Range extends from western Eritrea and southern and western Ethiopia south to southeastern Sudan and northern Kenya.
  • Cossypha semirufa donaldsoni (Sharpe, 1895)
    • Found in eastern Ethiopia and adjacent northwestern Somalia.
  • Cossypha semirufa intercedens (Cabanis, 1878)
    • Found in central and southeastern Kenya and northern Tanzania.


The upper plumage of the adult is brownish-grey; the plumage below bright orange. The crown (top of the head) is black; with white “eye-brows” that extend from the beak to the back of the head, and a black bar across the eyes.

The juvenile plumage is a duller brownish-grey, with a lighter abdomen; and soft speckling around the head.

Similar Species:

The Rueppell’s Robin Chats resemble the related White-browed Robin Chats – however, identification can be made via their central tail feathers, which black in Rüppell’s and light brown in the White-browed. The White-browed Robin Chat also generally has a paler-colored back. Also, the Rueppel’s Robin Chat generally favors the highland areas; which the White-browed Robin Chats typically avoid.

Alternate (Global) Names

Chinese: ????, ??? … Czech: Drozdík etiopský … Danish: Højlandsdrosselsanger … Dutch: Rüppell-lawaaimaker, Rüppells Lawaaimaker … Finnish: Pensaspunarastas, pensaspunatasku … French: Cossyphe à dos brun, Cossyphe de Rüppell … German: Braunrückenrötel, Braunrücken-Rötel … Italian: Cossifa di Ruppell, Tordo pettirosso codanera … Japanese: Akaotsugumihitaki, ogurotsugumihitaki … Norwegian: Bergtrosteskvett … Polish: zlotokos rdzawobrzuchy … Russian: ????????? ??????????? ??????? … Slovak: akalat hájový … Spanish: Cosifa de Rüppell … Swedish: Höglandssnårtrast … Swahili: Kurumbiza wa RŸppell

Additional Resources

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

Please Note: The articles or images on this page are the sole property of the authors or photographers. Please contact them directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.