The ‘old’ name for a Red-capped Robin-Chat (Cossypha natalensis) is the Natal Robin. To help me remember it’s new name I called him RCRC (Red-Capped Robin-Chat).
Every winter I wait for this stunning bird to visit. He seems to move away during the summer months. As soon as it cools down he pops down to the coast for a few weeks. Normally around the end of May, early June.
Today I heard him calling for the first time – bang on time.
Its hard to describe a bird’s call but this Robin-Chat makes a lovely sound –it reminds me of a see-saw. It’s loud, rich and he often mimics the calls of other birds. Although my apartment is on the third floor, I can hear him calling from across the road in Burman Bush.
Many years ago, after seeing the bird in Roberts Bird Book I couldn’t wait to see it in the flesh – or should I rather say ‘in the feathers’? That day happened while I was packing away laundry and caught a glimpse of gun mettle through the window. I knew exactly who had popped by.
Dropping the laundry (literally) I ran outside and enjoyed over 10 mins with one of the cutest birds I had ever seen.
Since then I’ve seen many RCRC’s. To this day they take my breath away.
Red-capped Robin Chats are found in many parts of Africa. Here in Southern Africa, you will find them from East London, north to Kwa Zulu Natal coastal belt through to Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Swaziland, Mozambique right up to Zambezi and Chobe Rivers.
They like to make their home in thickets, bushveld, forests and well-wooded gardens. Most times you will see them on the ground where they forage by whisking through the leaves in search of insects such as beetle, caterpillars, spiders and centipedes. In winter they’ll also eat fruit.
If you live in Southern Africa and interested in birds you will no doubt have seen one. If you’re a new birder keep your eyes and ears open for one. They are beautiful, cute and endearing.
For posts on other Southern African Birds Click Here