Monday, 11 August 2014

Boulder chat

Pinarornis plumosus

Photo by Adam Riley (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
boulder chat (en); chasco-das-rochas (pt); rochassier des ├ęboulis (fr); zorzal roquero (es); steindro├čling (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae

Range:
This species is found in eastern Botswana, Zimbabwe, marginally into western Mozambique and north to south-eastern Zambia and southern Malawi.

Size:
These birds are 23-27 cm long and weigh around 65 g.

Habitat:
The boulder chat is found in well-wooded granite outcrops, and hills with scattered granite boulders mixed with open savanna.

Diet:
They feed on insects and small lizards, which are mainly taken from the ground. They can also hawk termite alates using aerial sallies.

Breeding:
Boulder chats breed in September-January. The nest is a cup made of bark, leaves and twigs, set into a foundation of earth clods and lined with leaf petioles. It is typically placed underneath a boulder, in a cavity between two rocks or next to a log. The female lays 2-4 greenish-white eggs with reddish-brown speckles, which are incubated for 13-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and leave the nest 16-20 days after hatching, before they can fly, after which they hide under boulders until they fledge. They may still remain dependent on their parents until the following breeding season.

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

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