Saturday, 12 November 2011

Arrow-marked babbler

Turdoides jardineii

Photo by Jirí Sevcík (Encyclopedia of Life)

Common name:
arrow-marked babbler (en); zaragateiro-castanho (pt); cratérope fléché (fr); turdoide de Jardine (es); braundrossling (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

This African species occurs from Uganda, through Angola, Tanzania, northern Mozambique and Zambia, and into South Africa.

These birds are 21-25 cm long and weigh 55-85 g.

The arrow-marked babbler is found in moist savanna woodlands, preferring clumps of bushes and thickets amongst termite mounds. They also occupy dry riverine woodland, disturbed woodland with dense grass, reed beds, alien tree plantations and farms and suburban gardens.

They forage in groups on the ground and in the undergrowth, mostly taking invertebrates like termites, long-horned grasshoppers, beetles, moths and caterpillars, flies, ants and solifugids. They also eat seeds, fruits and the nectar of Aloe plants.

Arrow-marked babblers breed in September-April. They are cooperative breeders, living in social groups of 3-15 birds that defend a common territory. They build a messy cup of twigs, dry grass, plant stems and leaf petioles lined with finer material, placed in the dense foliage of a tree, bush, pile of driftwood, reed bed or a cavity in a dead tree. There the female lays 2-5 blue eggs which are incubated by all group members for 13-17 days. The chicks are cared for and protected by all group members and fledge 18-21 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as locally common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any current declines or substantial threats.

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