Rockrunner (Achaetops pycnopygius)

The Rockrunner bird, also known as the Rockrunner or the Cape Rockjumper, is a small passerine bird found primarily in rocky areas of South Africa. These birds are known for their stunning plumage, distinctive behavior, and incredible ability to navigate rocky terrain.

Rockrunners are roughly 21 centimeters long and weigh between 62 and 70 grams. They have a distinctive silhouette, with a short tail and round body. Their plumage is a mix of earthy tones, with gray-brown feathers on their upper parts and a rusty orange underbelly. Males and females are similar in appearance, with females having slightly duller plumage.

The Rockrunner bird is endemic to the South African region, with populations found primarily in the fynbos and Karoo vegetation types. They are adapted to rocky terrain, with specialized feet that allow them to cling to rocky surfaces and navigate difficult terrain. Their short wings make them less agile in flight, so they typically forage and breed on the ground.

Rockrunners are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of insects, small reptiles, and plant material. They are known for their unique feeding behavior, which involves leaping from rocky outcroppings onto prey on the rocks below. They also have a distinctive territorial call, which sounds like a sharp "tzz-tzz-tzz."

These birds are monogamous and pair for life. Breeding usually occurs between September and January each year, with the female laying one to three eggs in a simple nest made of grass and twigs. Both parents care for the chicks, which fledge after three to four weeks.

Despite being relatively common in their range, the Rockrunner bird faces several threats to its continued survival. Habitat degradation, particularly from overgrazing and land development, can impact their nesting and foraging habitats. Invasive plant species and predation by domestic cats and dogs also pose a risk. However, conservation efforts are underway to protect the Rockrunner and its habitat, and it remains an iconic bird of the South African rocky landscape.

Other names

Achaetops pycnopygius




timalí saltaroques de Damara



kamenjarska cvrkutuša

skalňáček drozdovitý




Achétopse à flancs roux


Saltarocce del Damara


dryžakrūtė devynbalsė




Дамарская большехвостая славка

skalobežec škvrnitý

Saltarrocas de Damara


Damara Kayabülbülü

куцохвостик малий