RUPPELL’S CHAT (Myrmecocichla melaena) Wing 85 – 94 mm

The Ruppell’s Chat is one of the poorest known of all Ethiopian endemics and uncommon to locally frequent in the western highlands of Shoa, Gojjam, Gonder, Wollo, Tigray and Eritrea regions. It has not been recorded in the southeastern highlands or in the southern portion of the western highlands. This Chat, living singly, in pairs or in small parties, inhabits edges and sides of cliffs and gorges and associated bare rock above 1800 meters (6000 feet); it shows a distinct preference for high elevations of the plateau around waterfalls and wet rocks on the tops of precipitous ravines and cliffs. The Ruppell’s Chat is a wholly black bird except for a white patch on the inner surface of the wing (inner webs of the primaries and innermost secondaries) which contrasts sharply with the black when the bird flies. When sitting, the Chat has the habit of flitting its tail high over its back. Its time of nesting has not been definitely recorded although in December a pair was once seen building a nest in a crack on a cliff face in Eritrea. Details of the nest have not been recorded nor have the eggs.

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