Thornveld inhabitants
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Chinspot Batis L: 13 cm (5") A small, big-headed, neatly patterned grey, black and white flycatcher-like bird with yellow eyes . The sexes look quite different: the male has a broad black chest-band and a white throat; the female has a chestnut chest-band and large chestnut throat spot, which gives the species its name . The Cape Batis (not illustrated), which is a rare visitor to Kruger, differs in having reddish eyes and deep rufous flanks and wing-bands in both sexes . The Chinspot Batis is a common resident in woodland, where it can be found in pairs or mixed-species flocks, flitting actively from tree to tree gleaning and hawking insects . It has a characteristic descending three-note whistled song, “three-blind-mice”, which is occasionally accompanied by clicking and bill snapping . These unrelated species are typically found in savannah dominated by thorn trees. In winter and early spring, up to ten birds may gather in small single-sex groups called‘batis parliaments’. Although they call, display and fight with each other, the function of these associations is poorly understood. Thornveld inhabitants male female 128 Burnt-necked Eremomela L: 11 cm (4·5") Small and nondescript, this warbler has greyish upperparts, pale buff underparts and a distinctive whitish eye . Its diagnostic rusty ear-patches and small bar across the breast are difficult to see, and in winter (June– August) are often absent . In Kruger, this eremomela is fairly common in its preferred Umbrella Thorn woodland habitat, but is very unobtrusive and easily overlooked . It may join mixed-species flocks and is most often detected by its high-pitched, accelerating, trilled song . Rattling Cisticola L: 15 cm (6") Cisticolas are a group of small, brown and rufous warblers that look similar but have striking and distinctive vocalizations . The Rattling Cisticola is a conspicuous and relatively chunky, longtailed pale brown species with a rusty crown and wings, and a mottled greybrown back . It is an abundant resident throughout Kruger’s drier woodlands, where it is one of the most obvious ‘LBJs’ (little brown jobs) . It often sits in a prominent position on a roadside bush singing its loud “tseeew-tseeew-tseeew” song, frequently finishing with the “trttrt -trt” rattle that gives the bird its name, and will also give a loud, scolding “cheee” call when alarmed . BIRDS OF BROADLEAVED WOODLAND AND CAMPS 129 ...


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