Cape Rock-Thrush

Monticola rupestris

As their name suggests, the Cape Rock-Thrush occurs only in rocky habitats, especially steep hills and mountain sides and deep valleys in grasslands and heathland with a sparse covering of trees, and it sometimes ventures into villages and reserve rest camps in such areas. They follow a diverse, omnivorous diet including insects and other invertebrates, small vertebrates like lizards and geckos, fruits, seeds and aloe-nectar. At a weight of around 60g and a length of about 21cm, the Cape Rock-Thrush is the biggest member of the family occuring in South Africa.

Cape Rock Thrushes are usually encountered singly or in pairs. Their breeding season spans spring and summer and their nests are untidy, shallow platforms built in crevices or on ledges which may be used for several consecutive breeding seasons. The male is very protective of the pair’s territory, while the female takes most of the responsibility for incubating the clutch of 2-4 eggs over a 2-week period. Both parents take care of the chicks, which become independent before they’re a month old.

The Cape Rock Thrush occurs only in parts of Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa. The IUCN considers it to be of least concern.


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