Our Beautiful World

Chat-thrushes, Saxicolinae
Robins, Chats and Redstarts

Indian Robin, Saxicoloides fulicata
Photo: J.M.Garg

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae typical flycatchers

Chats (formerly sometimes known as "Chat-thrushes" are a group of small Old World insectivorous birds formerly
classed as members of the thrush family Turdidae, but now[vague] considered Old World flycatchers.

This name is normally applied to the robust ground-feeding flycatchers found in Europe and Asia; these make up most
of the subfamily Saxicolinae. There are a large number of genera. Most northern species are strong migrants.

The division of Muscicapidae into two subfamilies may be artificial. Some genera in one subfamily are closer to members of the other and vice-versa. As the exact relationships of the family's members are worked out the internal taxonomic structure of the family may need to be radically revised. It seems I will be confused later....

The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls. They are small to medium birds, ranging from 10 to 21 centimetres in length. Many species are a dull brown in colour, but the plumage of some can be much brighter, especially in the males. Most have broad flattened bills suited to catching insects in flight, although the few ground foraging species typically have finer bills.

Old World flycatchers live in almost every environment with a suitable supply of trees, from dense forest to open scrub, and even the montane woodland of the Himalayas. The more northerly species migrate south in winter, ensuring a continuous diet of insects.

Depending on the species, their nests are either well-constructed cups placed in a tree or cliff ledge, or simply lining in a pre-existing tree hole. The hole-nesting species tend to lay larger clutches, with an average of eight eggs, rather than just two to five.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_World_flycatcher

Subfamily: Saxicolinae
chats and allies

Genus Tarsiger - bush-robins
Red-flanked Bluetail or Orange-flanked Bush-robin, Tarsiger cyanurus
Golden Bush-robin, Tarsiger chrysaeus
White-browed Bush-robin, Tarsiger indicus
Rufous-breasted Bush-robin, Tarsiger hyperythrus
Collared Bush-robin, Tarsiger johnstoniae
Genus Luscinia (11 species) - paraphyletic
Bluethroat, Luscinia svecica
Siberian Rubythroat, Luscinia calliope
Rufous-tailed Robin or Swinhoe's Nightingale, Luscinia sibilans
Thrush Nightingale, Luscinia luscinia
Common Nightingale or Rufous Nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos
Indian Blue Robin or Indian Bluechat, Luscinia brunnea
White-tailed Rubythroat, Luscinia pectoralis
Rufous-headed Robin, Luscinia ruficeps
Black-throated Blue Robin, Luscinia obscura
Firethroat, Luscinia pectardens
Siberian Blue Robin, Luscinia cyane
Genus Erithacus (3-4 species) - paraphyletic
European Robin, Erithacus rubecula
    Tenerife Robin, Erithacus (rubecula) superbus
Japanese Robin, Erithacus akahige
Ryukyu Robin, Erithacus komadori
Genus Irania - White-throated Robin
Genus Saxicola - bushchats and stonechats (c.15 species)
Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra
   White-browed Bush Chat or Stoliczka's Bushchat Saxicola macrorhynchus  
   White-throated Bush Chat or Hodgson's Bushchat Saxicola insignis

Canary Islands Stonechat or Fuerteventura Chat, Saxicola dacotiae
European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola
Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus
Stejneger's Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri
Stonechat, Saxicola torguata??
African Stonechat Saxicola torquatus
Madagascar Stonechat Saxicola sibilla
Reunion Stonechat Saxicola tectes
White-tailed Stonechat Saxicola leucurus
Pied Bush Chat or Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata
Jerdon's Bush Chat or Jerdon's Bushchat Saxicola jerdoni
Grey Bush Chat or Grey Bushchat Saxicola ferreus
White-bellied Bush Chat or White-bellied Bushchat Saxicola gutturalis
Species status possible, but not yet verified:
Ethiopian Stonechat Saxicola (torquatus) albofasciatus
Formerly included in Saxicola, but now treated in a separate genus:
Buff-streaked Chat Campicoloides bifasciatus (syn. Oenanthe bifasciata, Saxicola bifasciatus)
Genus Pogonocichla White-starred Robin, Pogonocichla stellata
Genus Swynnertonia
Swynnerton's Robin, Swynnertonia swynnertoni
Genus Stiphrornis - forest robins (1-5 species, depending on taxonomy)
Genus Xenocopsychus
Angola Cave-chat, Xenocopsychus ansorgei
Genus Saxicoloides -
Indian Robin, Saxicoloides fulicata (see picture on top of page)
Genus Cinclidium
White-tailed Robin, Cinclidium leucurum
Sunda Robin, Cinclidium diana
Blue-fronted Robin, Cinclidium frontale
Genus Grandala
Grandala, Grandala coelicolor
Genus Namibornis
Herero Chat, Namibornis herero
Genus Cercomela
Sickle-winged Chat, Cercomela sinuata
Karoo Chat, Cercomela schlegelii
Tractrac Chat, Cercomela tractrac
Familiar Chat, Cercomela familiaris
Brown-tailed Chat, Cercomela scotocerca
Indian Chat, Cercomela fusca
Sombre Chat, Cercomela dubia
Blackstart, Cercomela melanura
Moorland Chat, Cercomela sordida
Genus Myrmecocichla
Congo Moorchat, Myrmecocichla tholloni
Northern Anteater-chat, Myrmecocichla aethiops
Southern Anteater-chat, Myrmecocichla formicivora
Sooty Chat, Myrmecocichla nigra
Rueppell's Chat, Myrmecocichla melaena
White-fronted Black-chat, Myrmecocichla albifrons
White-headed Black-chat, Myrmecocichla arnotti
Genus Thamnolaea - cliff chats
Mocking Cliff-chat, Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris
White-winged Cliff-chat, Thamnolaea semirufa
Genus Pinarornis Boulder Chat Pinarornis plumosus

Saxicolinae genera not usually called "chats" are:
Genus Sheppardia - akalats (9 species)
Genus Cossyphicula - White-bellied Robin-chat - may belong in Cossypha
Genus Cossypha - robin-chats (14 species)
Genus Cichladusa - palm-thrushes (3 species)
Genus Cercotrichas - scrub-robins or bush-chats (11 species)
Genus Copsychus - magpie-robins or shamas (7 species)
Genus Phoenicurus - true redstarts (11 species)
Przevalski's Redstart (Phoenicurus alaschanicus)
Eversmann's Redstart (Phoenicurus erythronotus)
Blue-capped Redstart (Phoenicurus caeruleocephala)
Black Redstart , Phoenicurus ochruros
Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
Hodgson's Redstart (Phoenicurus hodgsoni)
White-throated Redstart (Phoenicurus schisticeps)
Daurian Redstart (Phoenicurus auroreus)
Moussier's Redstart (Phoenicurus moussieri)
Güldenstädt's Redstart (Phoenicurus erythrogastrus)
Blue-fronted Redstart (Phoenicurus frontalis)
Genus Enicurus - forktails (7 species)
Genus Cochoa - cochoas (4 species)
Genus Oenanthe - wheatears (some 20 species)
Genus Trichixos - Rufous-tailed Shama
Genus Brachypteryx: shortwings (3 species)
Genus Heinrichia: Great Shortwing
Genus Alethe: alethes (5 species)

Aberrant redstart, subfamily assignment not fully resolved Genus Hodgsonius, White-bellied Redstart

Aberrant redstarts, possibly belonging in this subfamily:
Genus Chaimarrornis - White-capped Redstart
Genus Rhyacornis (2 species)
Genus Hodgsonius
- White-bellied Redstart

List of norwegian names: Source: Norsk Ornitologisk Forening

Other songbirds called "chats" are:
Australian chats, genera Ashbyia and Epthianura of the honeyeater family (Meliphagidae).
They belong to a more ancient lineage than Saxicolinae.
American chats, genus Granatellus of the cardinal family (Cardinalidae), formerly placed in the wood-warbler family. They belong to a more modern lineage than Saxicolinae.
Yellow-breasted Chat, Icteria virens, an enigmatic North American songbird tentatively placed in the wood-warbler
family, Parulidae; its true relationships are unresolved.


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