It mainly eats insects and their larvae, supplemented with other invertebrates, lizards, fruit and seeds. It does most of its foraging from a perch, pouncing on prey on the ground and occasionally hawking insects aerially. It may also forage along rocky shores, hawking prey such as fish from perches on rocks and kelp.
Egg-laying season is from July-December, peaking from August-November. It lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 14-15 days. The chicks are brooded solely by the female but fed both parents, leaving the nest after about 13-16 days, becoming fully independent about 2-3 weeks later.
The nest built solely by the female, consisting of a deep cup made of dry grass, rootlets and thin plant stems and lined with finer rootlets, wool, hair and sometimes feathers. It is typically placed on the ground or on a low bank, at the base of a grass tuft, herb or shrub, although it was once recorded using a thorny tree as a nest site.
Occurs in patches across sub-Saharan Africa, but with the bulk of its population located from eastern Sudan and Ethiopia through southern DRC, Angola and Tanzania to southern Africa. It is common across much of Zimbabwe, northern Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Caprivi Strip, Namibia.
It generally prefers montane or open grassland (with scattered shrubs and bushes), fynbos shrubland, grassy hillsides, edges of high altitude forest, swamp edges and cultivated land.