Robin-chats
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White-browed Robin-Chat L: 18 cm (7") A large, eye-catching, thrush-like robin-chat with striking orange underparts and collar, and a dark mask and crown split by broad white eyebrows; the back and wings are olivegrey . This is a common resident in Kruger, favouring thick woodland and riverine forest, and becoming particularly confiding in camps . Its vocalizations are distinctive: basic variations of a bold, duetted “puu-deet, puuu-deet, puuu-deet” song getting louder and louder and rising to a crescendo, and can incorporate varied, jumbled notes and some mimicry when giving the alarm call . Territories are defended vigilantly, even against snakes, and intruding male robin-chats may be bludgeoned nearly to death . The White-browed Robin-Chat is one of the hosts of the parasitic Red-chested Cuckoo (page 87), and if you are very lucky you might see an adult feeding a much larger, dark and heavily barred fledgling. Robin-chats 172 White-throated Robin-Chat L: 15 cm (6") A medium-sized robin-chat with a slaty-grey crown and back separated from black wings by a white bar across the shoulder, and with a white eyebrow contrasting with a face-mask . The throat and belly are white, fading into amber-orange on the vent and in the outer tail feathers . This species is an uncommon and secretive resident in Kruger, favouring woodland close to watercourses . Like all robin-chats it tends to stay low, feeding mostly on the ground and singing at eye-level or below . The high-pitched, melodious song and calls include extensive mimicry of other birds . Red-capped Robin-Chat L: 16 cm (6·5") This is the most vibrantly coloured of the robin-chats, with tail, underparts, throat and face all vivid pumpkin-orange . The cap is dull, the back and wings steel-blue, and the central tail feathers are dark . It is locally common in riverine forest and thicket habitat, particularly in the Limpopo-Levuvu, Shingwedzi and Sabie river catchments, and is easily found in Letaba and Skukuza camps . It is often first detected by its distinctive plaintive, trembling “creee-craww” contact call, and other typically fluty robinchat vocalizations, including much mimicry . However, its secretive nature means that it can be hard to find when silent, notably during the winter (June–August) . BIRDS OF FORESTS AND RIVERINE THICKET 173 ...