Crimson Chat

Quick Facts

Length: 12 cm
Height: -
Weight: 11 grams
Colour: Dark brown above, brilliant red crown, breast and rump. Black mask around the ye and white throat
Habitat: Semi arid and arid regions mainly dominated by open shrublands, dunes, plains or grasslands
Food: Mostly insects. Also have the brush-tipped tongue to feed on nectar or insects from flowers of shrub
Predators: -
Status: Not Present in TAS. Secure in all other states and territories in Australia
Crimson Chat

The Crimson Chat is a small bird with a short decurved (downward curving) bill. Adult males are dark brown above, with a brilliant red crown, breast and rump, a black mask around the eye and white throat. Adult females and juveniles are much paler, brown above, with a white throat and pinkish below. Chats, unlike most small birds, walk rather than hop, and are most often seen on or near the ground.

Male Red-capped Robins, Petroica goodenovii, are quite similar to the male Crimson Chat, but have a black rather than white throat, a dark eye, a plumper body and prominent white wing-marks. The Crimson Chat's bill is also longer and not as thick as the Red-capped Robin's.

Crimson Chats are endemic to Australia, found from west of the Great Dividing Range to the coast of Western and South Australia.

Crimson Chats are found in semi-arid and arid regions mainly dominated by open shrublands, dunes, plains or grasslands.

Generally, Crimson Chats are winter visitors to northern Australia and summer visitors to southern Australia. However, in places of unpredictable rainfall they are nomadic, following recent rainfalls.

Crimson Chats feed mostly on insects. They mainly feed on the ground or close to it. However, they do possess the brush-tipped tongue common to their family (Meliphagidae) and they have been recorded taking nectar or insects from flowers of shrubs and trees.

Crimson Chats will breed outside their regular season if conditions allow. They build a small, round, cup-shaped nest constructed of grass, twigs or plant stems in low shrubs close to the ground. The Crimson Chat sometimes nests communally or with other species. The young are fed and guarded by both parents.

The young of the Crimson Chat are sometimes killed by cats and foxes and are at particular risk while still in the nest, as the nest is usually close to the ground.

Author: Rosalyn Plunkett
Last Updated: Thursday 9th January, 2014
BirdLife Australia -


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