Thursday, 24 May 2012

White-starred robin

Pogonocichla stellata

Photo by Alan Manson (Wikipedia)

Common name:
white-starred robin (en); pisco-estrelado (pt); rougegorge étoilé (fr); ruiseñor estrellado (es); sternrötel (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae

This species is patchily distributed across eastern Africa, from southern Sudan down to South Africa.

This species is 15-16 cm long and weighs 18-25 g.

The white-starred robin is mostly found in moist evergreen mountain forests with dense understory, but also in forest edges, scrublands, pine and wattle plantations, evergreen woodlands and forest edge gardens. They occur at altitudes of 1.600-4.300 m.

They mainly eat insects, especially beetles but also moths and caterpillars, ants, flies amphipods, bugs, wasps, crickets and mantids. They also eat centipedes, frogs and also berries and seeds when in season.

White-starred robins breed in October-January. The female builds the nest alone, consisting of a domed structure made of dead leaves, tendrils, rootlets and moss, and lined skeletonised leaves, flowers and animal hairs. The nest is typically placed on a slope, often at the base of a tree trunk bank or boulder, well concealed by vegetation. There the female lays 2-3 eggs, which she incubates alone for 16-18 days. The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge 13-16 days after hatching, but only become fully independent around 6 weeks later.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be abundant in parts of its range. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and predation by introduced species.

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