Monday, 17 October 2011

Yellow-breasted apalis

Apalis flavida

Photo by Trevor Hardaker (Trevor and Margaret Hardaker)

Common name:
yellow-breasted apalis (en); apalis-de-peito-amarelo (pt); apalis à gorge jaune (fr); apalis de pecho amarillo (es); gelbbrust-feinsänger (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Cisticolidae

This African species is patchily distributed from Senegal and Gambia to Ethiopia, and through Tanzania down to Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.

The yellow-breasted apalis is 12 cm long and weighs 8-9 g.

These birds are found in dry scrublands as well as in a variety of wooded habitats, including evergreen forests, arid riverine forests, Acacia and mopane savannas and even mangroves. They are found at altitudes of 150-2.200 m.

The yellow-breasted apalis mostly gleans insects from the foliage of the canopy, taking cetoniid beetles, grasshopper nymphs, ants, mantids, scale insects and caterpillars. They also eat fruits and sometimes the nectar of the mountain aloe Aloe marlothii.

These birds breed in October-March. The nest is an oval ball with a side entrance, made of grass, bark, tendrils, dead leaves, lichen, flowers and seed pods, although it is sometimes constructed entirely of lichen. It is typically placed in a tree or shrub, often near Usnea lichens. There the female lays 2-3 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 12-14 days. The chicks are cared for by both adults, fledging 15-17 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, the yellow-breasted apalis is described as common. The population is estimated to be increasing following a recorded range expansion in Gambia.

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