Familiar Chat

Cercomela familiaris

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.


Familiar Chat / Kololo Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa / 11 August 2013 Familar Chat / Swartberg Pass, Prince Albert, Western Cape, South Africa / 01 January 2017 Familiar Chat / Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park / South Africa Familiar Chat / Ezemvelo Nature Reserve, South Africa / 22 July 2011 Familiar Chat / Nambithi Game Reserve, Ladysmith, South Africa Familiar Chat (Hellmayri) / Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, South Africa / 04 July 2010 Familiar Chat / Llandudno, South Africa / 24 January 2014 Familiar Chat / Montusi Mountain Lodge, Drakensberg, South Africa Familiar Chat / Mabula Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa / 07 January 2015 Familiar Chat (Galtoni) / Erongo Wilderness Camp, Central Namibia / 27 July 2012 Familiar Chat / Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa / 30 April 2013 Familiar Chat / Kololo Game Reserve, Waterberg, South-Africa / 11 August 2013 Familiar Chat / Montusi Mountain Lodge, Drakensberg, South Africa Familiar Chat (Hellmayri) / Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, South Africa / 04 July 2010 Familiar Chat / Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, Gauteng, South Africa
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