Moorland chat

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Moorland chat
Moorland Chat at the Kilimanjaro moorland cropped.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Pinarochroa
Sundevall, 1872
Species: P. sordida
Binomial name
Pinarochroa sordida
(Rüppell, 1837)

Cercomela sordida

The moorland chat (Pinarochroa sordida), also known as the alpine chat or hill chat, is a species of songbird in the Old World flycatcher family. It is endemic to north-east Africa where it is common in its habitat. It lives at high altitudes on moors and grassland, usually above 3,400 m (11,100 ft), but can live as low as 2,100 m (6,900 ft).[2] It has a short tail and long legs. It is bold and will approach people.

The chat was first discovered on Mount Elgon on the Uganda-Kenya border by Jackson. The English geographer Halford Mackinder brought back the same bird from Mount Kenya in 1899.[3] He presented a paper on the first ascent to the Royal Geographical Society in 1900. The scientific results of his expedition were discussed in detail afterwards.

A very curious little bird was found by Mr Jackson on Mount Elgon at a height of 11,000 feet, and I remember saying to Mr. Mackinder that he was bound to find the same sort of little chat on Mount Kenya, at a height of 11,000 feet. This he did, and it was the same species as the Mount Elgon bird, an ordinary-looking little brown chat, with a good deal of white in the tail.

— Dr Bowdler Sharpe, A Journey to the Summit of Mount Kenya, British East Africa: Discussion[3]

The moorland chat was usually placed in the genus Cercomela, but molecular phylogenetic studies published in 2010 and 2012 found that the species was not closely related to birds in Cercomela or to birds in the closely related genus Oenanthe.[4][5] The moorland chat was therefore assigned to its own monotypic genus Pinarochroa which had been introduced by the Swedish zoologist Carl Jakob Sundevall in 1872.[6][7][8] The genus name Pinarochroa is derived from the Greek word pinaros meaning "dirty" and khroos, khroas meaning "coloured". The specific epithet sordida is from the Latin sordidus meaning "shabby" or "dirty".[9]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Pinarochroa sordida". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Birds of Africa south of the Sahara, Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan (2003) Struik ISBN 1-86872-857-9
  3. ^ a b Mackinder, H.J.; et al. (1900). "A journey to the summit of Mount Kenya, British East Africa: Discussion". The Geographical Journal. 15 (5): 453–486 [479]. doi:10.2307/1774261. 
  4. ^ Outlaw, R.K.; Voelker, G.; Bowie, R.C.K. (2010). "Shall we chat? Evolutionary relationships in the genus Cercomela (Muscicapidae) and its relation to Oenanthe reveals extensive polyphyly among chats distributed in Africa, India and the Palearctic". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 55 (1): 284–292. PMID 19772925. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.09.023. 
  5. ^ Aliabadian, M.; Kaboli, M.; Förschler, M.I.; Nijman, V.; Chamani, A.; Tillier, A.; Prodon, R.; Pasquet, E.; Ericson, P.G.P.; Zuccon, D. (2012). "Convergent evolution of morphological and ecological traits in the open-habitat chat complex (Aves, Muscicapidae: Saxicolinae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 65 (1): 35–45. PMID 22634240. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2012.05.011. 
  6. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2016). "Chats, Old World flycatchers". World Bird List Version 6.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 20 May 2016. 
  7. ^ Clement, Peter; Rose, Chris (2015). Helm Identification Guides: Robins and Chats. London: Christopher Helm. p. 632. ISBN 978-1-4081-5597-4. 
  8. ^ Sundevall, Carl Jakob (1872). Methodi naturalis avium disponendarum tentamen: försök till fogelklassens naturenliga uppställnung (in Swedish, French, and Latin). Volume 1. Stockholm: Samson & Wallin. p. 4. 
  9. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 307, 360. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.