Brown rockchat





Local Names

brown rockchat




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Brown Rockchat (Oenanthe fusca)
The brown rock chat (Oenanthe fusca) or Indian chat is a bird species of the family Muscicapidae. It is found mainly in northern and central India. It is often found on old buildings and rocky areas. It resembles a female Indian robin but lacks the reddish vent and differs in posture and behaviour apart from being larger. In flight it bears some resemblance to thrushes and redstarts. It feeds on insects, captured mainly on the ground. It was formerly placed as the sole species in the genus Cercomela but is now included with the wheatears in the genus Oenanthe.
The brown rock chat is about 17 cm long, larger than the somewhat similar-looking Indian robin. It is uniformly rufous brown with the wings and tail of a slightly darker shade. The brown on the undersides grades into a dark grey-brown vent. The beak is slender and is slightly curved at the tip. The second primary is the longest and the tail is rounded. In flight it resembles a female blue rock thrush. The sexes are indistinguishable in the field.
The species is nearly endemic to India, distributed north of the Narmada, west to Gujarat (mainly Kutch but extending south) and east to Bengal bordered on the north by the Himalayas where it is found up to about 1300 m in the foothills. Its distribution extends into northern Pakistan west to the Chenab River. Although largely resident, some populations make movements in response to weather. In the foothills of the Himalayas it moves higher up in summer, appearing in Dehra Dun in spring and leaving before the onset of winter. The species has been seen in Nepal. It is a common species although very patchily distributed. It usually found singly or in pairs on old buildings or rocky areas. Brown rock chats have a wide repertoire of calls. Nearly eight different kinds of calls have been noted, including territorial calls, begging calls, feeding calls, alarm calls, threat calls, contact calls, distress calls, roosting calls and emergence calls. The most common call is a short whistled chee delivered with a rapid bob and stretch, and the alarm call is a harsh chek-check.