Chat (bird)

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This article is about the Old World chats; see below for other birds called "chats".

Saxicola rubetra 3 tom (Marek Szczepanek).jpg
Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Subfamily: Saxicolinae

About 30, see text.

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

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

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.

Species in taxonomic order[edit]

Saxicolinae genera not usually called "chats" are:

Aberrant redstarts, possibly belonging in this subfamily: