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The Rufous Rock-jumper
or Cape Rock-jumper
, Chaetops frenatus
is a medium-sized insectivorous passerine
A passerine is a bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or, less accurately, as songbirds, the passerines form one of the most diverse terrestrial vertebrate orders: with over 5,000 identified species, it has roughly...
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...
endemic to the mountain fynbos
Fynbos is the natural shrubland or heathland vegetation occurring in a small belt of the Western Cape of South Africa, mainly in winter rainfall coastal and mountainous areas with a Mediterranean climate...
of southernmost South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...
This is a ground-nesting species which forages on rocky slopes and scree. It frequently perches on rocks. Breeding groups occupy 4–11 ha territories, and typically consist of a breeding pair and one or two additional individuals, usually offspring of the adult pair from the preceding breeding season. These helpers participate in territorial defence and alarm calling, and in the feeding of nestlings and fledglings of the breeding pair. Females also help with nest building and incubation.
The Rock-jumpers are medium-sized insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the genus Chaetops, which constitutes the entire family Chaetopidae. The two species, the Rufous Rock-jumper, Chaetops frenatus, and the Drakensberg Rockjumper, Chaetops aurantius, are endemic residents of southern Africa...
is 23–25 cm long with a long black tail and strong legs. The male has a dark grey head with a thin white supercilium
The supercilium is a plumage feature found on the heads of some bird species. It is a stripe which runs from the base of the bird's beak above its eye, finishing somewhere towards the rear of the bird's head. Also known as an "eyebrow", it is distinct from the eyestripe, which is a line which runs...
and a broad white moustache. The back and wings are dark grey, and the underparts and rump are rufous red.
The female and juvenile have a paler grey head, upperparts and wings, a duller head pattern, an orange rump, and buff underparts. The call is a loud wheeoo
The closely related Drakensberg Rockjumper, Chaetops aurantius
, does not overlap in range. The male of that species has orange underparts, and the female and young are paler below than the Rufous Rock-jumper.