Cape Rockjumper Chaetops frenatus Scientific name definitions

Krista N. Oswald
Version: 2.0 — Published May 17, 2021

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

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Sounds and Vocal Behavior

While the Cape Rockjumper has a variety of vocalizations, it can be extremely quiet, and often goes long periods within the day with only a bare minimum of calls (KNO, personal observations).


Vocal Array


Their song is an often long series of penetrating piping notes, psuwee-psuwee-psuwee and sip-sip-psu, sip-sip-psu, or more varied peeurip tri-tri-trip chi-treeeprip .


Contact and alarm calls generally are a sharp, monosyllabic or dual-syllabic call often followed by a trilling series . When individuals rejoin, or during territory disputes all individuals in the territory are likely to become involved .

Parent-offspring contact call a soft psuwee to gain nestlings' attention, with nestling begging calls similar to other passerines. A contact call may also be given when one parent is brooding and another is bringing food; here, the parent with food will give a soft contact call on approaching the nest to communicate to the brooding parent that it should leave the nest area to make room for the parent with food (see videos under Breeding: Parental Care).

Social Context and Presumed Functions of Vocalizations

Confrontations between territorial groups involve short, piercing whistles. Territorial disputes often are solely vocal, and rarely involve physical confrontation, with neighboring territories calling to one another from conspicuous boulders separated by 10–20 m (KNO, personal observations). When calling, stands in an upright position with the tail stiff upright or spread, and can call with prey in the bill. All members of a territory may call and become involved in territory disputes (16). A study on sources of alarm calling found few overall instances of alarm calls (36 instances in 408 hours of observation). Alarm calls are given for researcher presence, aerial birds (e.g., ravens, kestrels), and mongooses, but surprisingly are given for presence of snakes (boomslang) only during the breeding season (16; KNO, personal observations).

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported.

Recommended Citation

Oswald, K. N. (2021). Cape Rockjumper (Chaetops frenatus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.rufroc1.02