Bird of the Week – Arrowmarked babbler

THE arrowmarked babbler is a common resident from the interior of KZN, through the Lowveld of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Northwest Province.

The voice is a whirring ‘ra-ra-ra-ra-ra’ usually in chorus and a harsh ‘chak-chak-chak’. One or two birds start calling, while others join in a crescendo, before the calling dies away.

LISTEN:

The babblers like thickets with long grass and bushes in woodland, savanna, and bushveld, riverine reedbeds, denser Kalahari woodland and exotic plantations.

They are gregarious in groups of up to 10 birds. They forage on the ground and by jumping through lower bushes and undergrowth, every now and then calling in chorus.

The babblers’ flight is straight with alternating fluttering and gliding, and members of a flock follow each other in loose succession from bush to bush. They roost communally.

Food is principally insects up to 35mm long which can include grasshoppers, termites, moths, caterpillars, flies, ants, beetles as well as seeds, nectar and fruit which is held in its foot while being eaten.

WATCH THESE BABBLERS WORK TOGETHER TO CATCH A SNAKE:

Breeding takes place in KZN from October until March. Two to four turquoise or greenish-blue eggs are laid in a nest built from a mass of grass and twigs with a bowl-shaped hollow on top. Up to seven helpers do the building.

The incubation and nestling period are unrecorded.

The Zulu name is iHlekehle and in Afrikaans, it is known as pylvlekkatlagter.

  AUTHOR
BRUCE MUNRO

Latest News

COMMENTS

Top
Next Story x
Over 45 mixed tennis league cancelled due to low numbers