Charming by nature and smart-looking too, the Rockrunner is both dapper and alert. Issuing out a bubbly, warbling song from along scree slopes and watercourses in dry hillsides and mountains, this nimble African warbler is both solitary and territorial. As the name suggests, it is quite terrestrial, running across rocky substrates in pursuit of insects or other invertebrates, every so often pausing to snatch one up, or to raise its head and irritably scold an intruder with tinny, chattering call notes. No indeed, the Rockrunner will not be trifled with. Combine its attitude with the smart salt and pepper head and chest, and its warm underparts, and it is tough not to find them enchanting.
To look at it, one might see similarities with our company’s namesake bird, and yes the Rockrunner has at times been known by the name ‘Damara Rockjumper’. A tern and a hornbill still bear the Damara modifier within their name, which really refers to a people of northwest and central Namibia. The Damara make up near 10% of the country’s population, and yet little is known of their origin, nor do they share any cultural relationship with any other ethnic group in Africa. A fascinating people in a fascinating country, Namibia is the driest nation of Sub-Saharan Africa, holding the world’s oldest desert (The Namib) and also the world’s highest sand dunes, some of which reach close to 1000 feet high. The scenery is breath-taking, providing an incredible backdrop for photographers. But it is along the stark rocky hillsides, even just right outside the capital of Windhoek, where one finds the bold Rockrunner.
Formerly placed in the unwieldy family Sylvidae, today the Rockrunner rests within a newly constructed family, known as the African warblers, or Macrosphenidae. This family includes the almost tailless crombecs (9 species), the longbills (5 species) and 4 other species, each in a monotypic genus. These are the Victorin’s Warbler, Moustached Grass Warbler, Cape Grassbird, and our feature for June, the Rockrunner.
Being that the Rockrunner is only found in Namibia and Angola it is an iconic bird of our classic Namibia, Okavango & Victoria Falls overland safari, which also features lily-choked backwaters of the Okavango, flamingo-studded lagoons of Walvis Bay, game-filled watering holes at Etosha National Park, and of course, wondrous Victoria Falls too. Along the way we search for Slaty Egret, Wattled Crane, Ludwig’s Bustard, Rüppell’s Korhaan, Secretarybird, Pel’s Fishing Owl and big game animals including Lion, Leopard, African Elephant, Black and White Rhinoceroses, Cheetah, not to mention the absurdly cute elephant shrews.
Join Rockjumper today as we seek Rockrunners, and you will discover more for sure.
Namibia, Okavango & Victoria Falls Overland VI 2018 – 1 space left
Namibia, Okavango & Victoria Falls Overland II 2019 – 2 spaces left