The forest robins are small Central and West African birds from the genus Stiphrornis. They have been placed in the family Turdidae, but are now generally placed in Muscicapidae in the group popularly known as chats. Traditionally, only a single species, the Forest Robin (S. erythrothorax), has been recognized, but recent reviews have recommended recognizing 5 species. All have a total length of around 12 cm (4½ in), have dark upperparts, and a throat and chest that, depending on the exact species, is yellow-orange or deep orange.
The initial split into multiple species within this genus is based on a review from 1999 where it, based on the phylogenetic species concept
, was argued that all then recognized taxa
should be considered monotypic
species. Of these, S. gabonensis
and S. xanthogaster
were formerly considered subspecies of S. erythrothorax
, whereas S. saghensis
was described as an entirely new species. The split was not followed in Handbook of the Birds of the World
, where described as "perhaps premature"
. Comparably, the BirdLife
Taxonomic Working Group (and consequently IUCN
) recommended not following the split, as differences in plumages
are relatively small, genetic sampling considered incomplete, and evidence for intergradation
is lacking. Another species from this complex
, S. pyrrholaemus
, was described as a new species
in 2008. Based on mtDNA
, it is placed within S. erythrothorax sensu lato
, and consequently is only a species (rather than a subspecies of S. erythrothorax
) if at least some of the taxonomy
recommended in 1999 is followed. The genetic divergence
between S. pyrrholaemus
and other members of the genus is comparably to that between some other closely related species.