Black-headed Apalis | Apalis melanocephala

Robert's Birding Information: Black Headed Apalis

The Black-headed Apalis is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Cisticolidae bird family group which includes birds such as African Warblers.

The description for the Black-headed Apalis (Latin name Apalis melanocephala) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Apalis melanocephala can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 647 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 854. You will find a picture of the Black-headed Apalis on page 864.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Black-headed Apalis between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Black-headed Apalis has a height of 13 cms and weighs around 9 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured black. The Apalis melanocephala has a grey coloured throat, brown legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are orange.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black.

Eyes are orange.

Bill is black.

Legs are brown.

Throat is grey.

Back is black.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Blackheaded Apalis Feeding Habits ...

The Black-headed Apalis is usually seen hunting for food within the tree foliage.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

The Apalis melanocephala forages mainly on the ground or at the base of trees, and low down in the shrubs eating mostly fruits and seeds.

Blackheaded Apalis Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Black-headed Apalis is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 3 eggs and they are coloured chestnut.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.