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The sexes are similar with pale orange throat and grey sides to neck, breast and belly. Unlikely to be confused with other robins in the same territory.
The short, black bill is fairly straight, but with a slightly down-curved upper mandible.
The Cape robin-chat has a guttural, trisyllabic alarm call, which may be rendered as "wur-de-dur". It has given rise to several local names, including “Jan frederik”, which matches the rhythm of the call if the last syllables are run together. This call is also given year-round when arriving at, or departing from a roost.
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