The mocking cliff chat

The mocking cliff chat is a species of bird in the family Muscicapidae. It is found in Benin, Botswana,Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Ethiopia,Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland,Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitat is dry savannah.


Distribution and habitat

Occurs in a neat band from central Ethiopia through Tanzania, Malawi and northern Mozambique to southern Africa. Here it is locally common in Zimbabwe, south-eastern Botswana, the eastern half of South Africa and southern Mozambique. It generally prefers well-wooded rocky ravines, cliffs and gullies, boulder-strewn hillsides and watercourses in valley bottoms with scattered rocks.


Movements and migrations

Resident throughout most of its distribution, although in the Drakensberg it tends to head to lower altitudes in winter.



It eats insects, fruit and occasionally the nectar of aloes, such as Krantz aloe (Aloe arborescens). It does most of its foraging from a perch, pouncing on prey on the ground, but it may also glean food from leaves and branches.



  • The nest is built by both sexes in about a week, consisting of an open cup set into a foundation of twigs, leaves, roots and feathers, lined with the hair of antelopes and hyraxes. It is typically placed in the nest of a striped swallow, sometimes kicking them out while they are in the process of breeding, usually position beneath a rock overhang, bridge, culvert or in a cave. It may occasionally use a hole in a wall or a cavity in agricultural machinery.
  • Egg-laying season is from August-December, peaking from September-November.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 14-16 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 19-21 days.

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