The familiar chat must be one of the most aptly named birds. Familiar is definitely the operative word as what these little chaps lack in plumage, colour and flair they make up for in courage, personality and invasion of personal space. In fact if birds were dogs, the familiar chat would be a Labrador; always friendly, always staring lovingly into your eyes and always asking to be taken for a walk.
The only difficulty with this genus is that like pipits they are virtually impossible to tell apart….. unless you enjoy analyzing wing flicking behaviour and tail patterns. If not, just call them all “familiar” and you will usually be right.
We first laid eyes on this common chat in April 2010 while staying at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in south east Gauteng. The picnic site at Suikerbosrand is a good spot to pick up this bird as well as a number of other species including redthroated wryneck, cape bunting, chestnutvented tit-babbler and red-eyed bubul.