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Mottled Spinetail | Telacanthura ussheri

The Mottled Spinetail is a Southern African bird that belongs to the apodidae bird family group which includes birds such as Typical Swifts.

The description for the Mottled Spinetail (Latin name Telacanthura ussheri) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Telacanthura ussheri can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 422 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 231. You will find a picture of the Mottled Spinetail on page 257.

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 Mottled Spinetail between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Mottled Spinetail is known in Afrikaans as Gevlekte Stekelstert.

The Mottled Spinetail has a height of 14 cms and weighs around 34 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured black. The Telacanthura ussheri has a white coloured throat, grey legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

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 brown

Eyes are brown

Bill is black

Legs are grey

Throat is white

Back is brown

Feeding Habits ...

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

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Mottled Spinetail 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 2 eggs and they are coloured white.

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

The Mottled Spinetail is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

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

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Mottled Spinetail 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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