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Sentinel Rock Thrush - BirdForum Opus

Male Sentinel Rock Thrush
Photo © by GarethH
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, South Africa
Monticola explorator


Photo © by GarethH
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, South Africa

Length 17 cm, mass about 50 g.
Adult male': The head to upper breast and back is a striking blue-grey, contrasting with a rich orange lower breast and belly. The wings are black and grey. The bill is black and the irises are brown.
Adult female: Greyish brown with pale mottling above. Throat and breast streaked dark brown on a white to orange background. Belly creamy.


Southern and eastern South Africa, Lesotho and eSwatini.



There are two subspecies:

  • M. e. explorator from most of the range of the species (Western Cape to Gauteng, Mpumalanga and eSwatini)
  • M. e. tenebriformis from Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal, darker than the nominate race.


Grasslands, heathlands, fynbos and other open habitats, often on rocky slopes.


Immature Sentinel Rock Thrush
Photo © by Alan Manson
Sani Pass, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa-Lesotho border.

Solitary, in pairs, or in small groups. Fairly active and often perches conspicuously.


Forages on the ground (often from a low perch) mainly for insects, but also other invertebrates, seeds and fruit.


Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ & Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Robert's Birds of Southern Africa, 7th edition. John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa. ISBN 0620340533

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