Cape Rockjumper (Chaetops frenatus) breeding pair seen at Rooiels !

DISTRIBUTION: Endemic to S Africa. From Piketberg and the Cederberg south to Cape Hangklip, W Cape (absent from Cape Peninsula) and east to Uitenhage, E Cape. Range does not overlap with Drakensberg Rockjumper, but separated by only ca 100-150 km, not 400 km as previously reported.


MOVEMENTS: Sedentary, possibly with some movement to lower altitudes in summer.

HABITAT: Rocky mountain fynbos, especially on high slopes and ridges (high-rainfall, windswept areas), but down to sea level around Cape Hangklip, W Cape.

GENERAL HABITS: In pairs or small family groups. Scuttles inconspicuously among boulder-strewn slopes during non-br season.

FORAGING & FOOD: Feeds on ground, scratching and probing in sand at bases of bushes and boulders. Eats mostly arthropods; occasionally lizards, rarely amphibians.

BREEDING: Monogamous; facultative cooperative breeder. Group comprises br pair and sometimes 1-2 additional birds (3+ birds in 33-50% of groups, proven in 2 cases to be offspring from previous br season). Solitary nester. Territorial; territory maintained year-round (n = 7 groups). Territorial encounters usually brief, birds initially assuming upright postures on tall rocky outcrops, with heads held up and tails fanned to expose conspicuous tips; followed by much calling and chasing. At Steenbras Dam, W Cape, br groups occupied 4-11 ha territories, defended by all group members. Only 1 observation of copulation; 2 male chased female, while giving high-pitched, staccato versions of contact call, flicking wings to side, and fanning tails. Female eventually was cornered among rocks and mounted for ca 5-7 sec by 1 male; second male did not pursue female once she had mated. Nest: Built by both sexes, in 3-7 d (n = 4); lined for further 5-10 d before egg laying. An untidy bowl of grasses, rushes, twigs, moss and lichen, lined with fine restios, grass, rootlets, hairy Protea seeds, and fur of Smith's Red Rock Rabbit Pronolagus rupestris.