African Stonechat | Saxicola torquatus
The African Stonechat is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Muscicapidae bird family group which includes birds such as Thrushes, Robins, Chats, Old World Flycatchers.
The description for the African Stonechat (Latin name Saxicola torquatus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Saxicola torquatus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 596 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 946. You will find a picture of the African Stonechat on page 961.
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.
This bird is known as Stonechat in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the African Stonechat between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition
The African Stonechat is known in Afrikaans as Gewone Bontrokkie.
The African Stonechat has a height of 14 cms and weighs around 15 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured black. The Saxicola torquatus has a black coloured throat, black legs and a chestnut coloured back. The eyes are brown.
The male Saxicola torquatus has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.
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 brown
Bill is black
Legs are black
Throat is black
Back is chestnut
Feeding Habits ...
This bird forages for food on the ground
The Saxicola torquatus attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten
This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The African Stonechat strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.
This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .
The Saxicola torquatus forages mainly on the ground or at the base of trees, and low down in the shrubs eating mostly fruits and seeds.
Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...
The African Stonechat 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 2 to 5 eggs and they are coloured red.
The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.
The African Stonechat is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.
The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.
The African Stonechat is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.
The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams
This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests
The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings
Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...
The African Stonechat is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.
It is also seen in flocks
The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."
copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105
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