Snowy-crowned Robin-chat

Welcome to the first in our Gambia Birdlife blogposts. Each week I shall talking about birds found in The Gambia and mostly at Footsteps. We will be publishing each Saturday so keep an eye open for Gambia Birdlife!

The Snowy-crowned Robin-chat is one of my personal favourites. They’re not shy so will come right up to you, making them easy to photograph.

In fact this June we had a breeding pair make their home right outside our front door. We had to be quiet and not rush in and out so as not to scare them or their little chicks.

Nesting Snowy-Crowned-Robin-Chat
©Steve Keightley

Where is the bird found?

I’m happy to say the cousin to the British Robin is found at Footsteps all year round. See our guided bird-watching trips

Outside of our lodge, the Snowy crowned Robin-chat is found in subtropical or tropical dry forests and moist savannah regions of Africa.

Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, and moist savanna. Source: Wikipedia

In Gambia this delightful bird is widespread and generally fairly common in forest interiors.

What does it look like?

The Snowy-crowned Robin-chat is very similar to the White-crowned Robin-chat in appearance and will often be mistaken for each other and found together.

It has an orange belly and throat, a blackhead and a distinctive white crown. They have short black beaks and their mantle and wings are slaty with the centre tail being black.

The young Chats are paler in colour so you will know the adults from the siblings.

What does it feed on?

They feed mainly on insects such as spiders, caterpillars, centipedes and also arthropods. They also love to enjoy a meal of seeds and grains.

Want to know an interesting Factoid?

This beautiful little bird rarely lives past two years old. 

How does it sound?

While staying at Footsteps you will usually hear her in the early evening. Her song is loud, strong and varied and also has a flute-like quality.

They can copy the sounds of other birds too but a large part of her song is her own.

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