Friday 22 June 2012

Velvet asity

Philepitta castanea

Photo by Dubi Shapiro (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
velvet asity (en); asite-veludo (pt); philépitte veloutée (fr); filepita aterciopelada (es); seidenjala (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Philepittidae

This species is endemic to Madagascar, being found along the eastern side and extreme north-western corner of the island.

These birds are 14-17 cm long and weigh 34-42 g.

The velvet asity is mostly found in the understory of lowland rainforests, but also in mountain rainforests and second growths, at altitudes of 400-1.600 m.

They are frugivorous, eating various fruits and berries of Myrsinaceae, Rubiaceae, Piperaceae, Oleaeceae and Loranthaceae.

Velvet asities breed in September-November. They are polygynous, with males forming leks where they display to passing females. The female is responsible for building the nest, a pear-shaped woven structure hanging from branches. She also incubates the eggs and raises the chicks alone, but there is no information on the duration of these stages.

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

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