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 Post subject: Flycatcher, African Paradise-
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:20 am 
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African Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis)

Other names:
Afrikaans: Paradysvlieëvanger
Dutch: Afrikaanse paradijsmonarch
French: Tchitrec d'Afrique
German: Paradiesschnäpper
Portuguese: Papa-Moscas do Paraízo

Classification:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Monarchidae
Genus: Terpsiphone (= delightful voice)

Identification: The most obvious feature about this species is the flowing orange-rust tail, very long in the male. Size: 17-20 cm (35 cm in breeding males, of which 18 cm is the tail). Sexes are dimorphic in plumage coloration.
Adult male: Head, throat and nape metallic greenish black. Crown feathers raised into slight crest. Back, upper rump and tail bright rusty (chestnut). Central pair of rectrices usually very elongated (loses its long tail in the non-breeding season). Wing coverts rusty. Proximal underwing coverts off-white, forming pale 'armpit'. Breast smokey grey, paler on belly and flanks; very pale buff, occasionally white. Bill pale blue. Eyes dark brown, with fleshy ultramarine eye wattle that touches similarly coloured gape. Legs and feet bluish slate.

Adult female: Same as male, but metallic blackish green confined to crown; remainder of head, nape and throat same smoky grey as breast. Usually has only slightly elongated central rectices. Eye wattle and gape dull blue, wattle not touching gape. Bill bluish slate; rictal bristles prominent.
Juvenile: As adult female, but head lacks metallic sheen. Eyes pale brown.

Voice: Territorial song of male a loud, rippling phrase of 5-6 liquid notes, usually repeated, almost without break, tzzeee switty-tsweep-sweepy-taweep. Varies individually and geographically. Contact call zeet zwayt, zeet-er or zwayt-er. Nest-building female gives excited, high-pitched, tripping chirree chirree chirree, or chizzareereet; sharp tcheep on leaving nest, softer chee-urr on returning. Both sexes give tjee-kurr when bringing food to nest. Alarm call tjek-urr, by both sexes. Husky skizzit when mobbing snake, Human approach provokes rumbling from male and chick chick-chicky ricky from female on nest.

Distribution: Most of sub-Saharan Africa, but absent from driest parts of south west and Horn of Africa. Also in south east Arabia. In southern Africa, absent only from arid regions of Karoo, Kalahari, southern Namibia and Namib Desert. In southern highveld of South Africa, regular in well-wooded towns and suburbs, but largely absent from rural areas.

Habitat: This is a common species of well-wooded areas, well treed suburbs, riverine and coastal forests and thickets in more open savannah. In drier areas, largely confined to riparian vegetation. Absent from fynbos, except for forest patches and riverine strips. Common in miombo woodland in Zimbabwe; sometimes also in Mozambique. Also in alien timber plantations, especially Poplars. In KwaZulu-Natal, breeding records from riverine vegetation, Acacia woodland, coastal lowland and mistbelt forests, mangroves, dune forest and gardens.

General Habits, Foraging & Food: Solitary or in pairs; occasionally in groups of 3. Very vocal, and tolerant of human presence. Often active, flitting through foliage or across open spaces, pausing briefly on perch. Bathes by plunge-diving into water, keeping long tail feathers out of water, or by hopping among hanging wet leaves. Drinks by dipping bill in water in flight.
Hawks from a perch in a tree, looking upwards and outwards for passing insects, seizes in brief aerial sallies, often with complicated acrobatics. In many instances quite unobtrusive despite colourful dress. Most prey are brought back to perch. White Pieridae butterflies are favoured prey, but difficult to catch. Other food include grasshoppers, moths, African Migrant Catopsilia florella butterflies, beetles, midges, mosquitoes, insect eggs, caterpillars, lacewings, Lycaenid butterflies, mantids, cockroaches, ant alates, spiders and of course, flies.

Breeding: The breeding season is from September to March. Courtship preceded by much chasing by both sexes; male shivers wings with bill fully open, twittering softly; female may respond in similar fashion, or make first approach. Alternatively, female flies from branch to branch, fanning tail. Male approaches female with upward sweep, turning in mid air before returning to perch; both birds silent.

Image
Although chics soon find own food these two were still
being fed by the parents (Skukuza Camp, Jan'2006)


Nest: Built by both sexes, the nest is a neat shallow cup of bark roots and grass, bound together with spider web and lined with rootlets. It often has pieces of lichen attached to the outside as decoration (decoration added last). The nest is often placed on the fork of a slender branch which is hanging over a small stream or other water.

Image
Incubation is shared equally by both sexes (Olifants Camp, Jan'2006)

Status: Summer visitor; resident in the northeast.

Conservation: Not threatened.

As a matter of interest: Stamps from various african countries showing African Paradise-Flycatcher
------------------------------
Sources: Roberts Birds of Southern Africa VII ; SASOL Bird e-Guide.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:05 am 
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Location: Shrewsbury UK ex CapeTown
A great place to see them in Cape Town (a part of the world where they're not so common) is on the slopes of Table Mountain leading up from Kirstenbosch and in particular on the Braille trail in Kirstenbosch itself - find a comfortable bench and listen for a few minutes, they are always around during the summer months.
One of my favourite birds!


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:54 pm 
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Location: Sunshine Coast
SHIMUWINI NEIGHBOUR 12/2006 Unit 7

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Full story later in trip report

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 1:49 pm 
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Seen outside our cottage in Batleur.

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Larger view

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:38 pm 
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This one was seen just outside CBridge in April...it would not sit still so difficult to get a clear photo, but you can see its beautiful long tail :)

Image

Image

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:42 pm 
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Male Paradise Flycatcher. Nice pics!

It really is not easy to get a good picture of them.

The female has a much shorter tail. The diagnostic dark head and blue eye ring and rusty body and tail is a dead give away. :wink:

Interesting thing is that they are a breeding intra-African migrant, but locally a common resident in Kruger and Northern KZN. A bird ringed in Pietermaritzburg was recovered in Vila Junqueiro, Mozambique.


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 Post subject: Paradise
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:21 pm 
wildtuinman wrote:
It really is not easy to get a good picture of them.

locally a common resident in Kruger and Northern KZN.


Ja, WTM, they never sit still! :shock:

Interestingly, have only ever seen them in Nelspruit in summer!

Did you know that the female also rarely develops a long tail, (Although how they found that out, I can only guess!) :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Paradise
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:27 pm 
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Richprins wrote:
Did you know that the female also rarely develops a long tail, (Although how they found that out, I can only guess!) :shock:


Very interesting. I read about that in Newman's earlier.

I also noted elsewhere on the web that males have a distinct white wing bar.

(the wing bar looks more like an arm pit tuft to me, but to minimize confusion I will stay with wing bar.)

Sasol III does not show this wing bar.
Newman's show the wing bar for both species.
And Roberts' software shows in their illustrations that the female lacks this white wing bar but in the photos they show a female with a white wing bar.

So far most of the pictures taken of a male I came across, shows this white wing bar and it would seem that this white wing bar is present in MGoddard's first pic as well.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:36 pm 
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Image
Female on a nest in Letaba day visitors area in Dec last year.

Also saw a pair on the tree outside entrance to Olifants shop, but they would not keep still for photo, while trying to chase off a starling!

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 Post subject: Paradise-Flycatcher, African
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:54 pm 
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Male.
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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 1:33 pm 
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I first saw these beautiful birds at Pafuri. They were the pride of our neighbourhood in Vanderbijlpark the past summer though 8) They first showed up in summer 2007, disappeared in winter and sucessfully raised a chick in our neighbours garden this year. They are the cutest birds to watch. The male loved drinking from the tap in our garden, it has a slow leak. The first thing you see is the tail when he hangs upside down drinking. They disappeared again with the first frost.


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 Post subject: Re: Flycatcher, African Paradise-
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:54 pm 
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This is an absolote beautiful bird. Rather small body, the long tail is a makes it seem bigger. First time I saw it was in Croc Bridge.

Then I saw them twice this week at Walter Sisulu. And managed to take a picture ( not nearly as great as the ones already posted!) It was a struggle to get this pic - this is a fast little bird, doesn't sit still for very long!

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Flycatcher, African Paradise-
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:47 pm 
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Taken today at Lowveld Botanical Gardens, he was chasing a Black Cuckoo shrike female all over the place, and the next moment came sitting right infront of me. :D

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 Post subject: African Paradise-flycatcher
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:19 pm 
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Location: Kyalami, South Africa.
We are having great fun watching a pair of African Paradise-flycatchers just outside one of our kitchen windows.

The male comes along and does a bit of building. He then calls to the female. She comes along and tries the nest for size - lying in it and wiggling around. She then calls the male back. He then tries it for size - also lying in it and wiggling about. Then he does a bit more building work. Then she comes and inspects and so it goes on. This had been going on for several days. The nest has survived quite a lot of rain and wind, so is well-built.

We are just waiting for the female to accept the male's building efforts and start laying and then producing chicks.

They are such a pleasure to watch and have such a lovely song.

(We also have a Hadeda Ibis nesting about 10 metres above them).

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 Post subject: Re: African Paradise-flycatcher
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:58 pm 
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Hi Hippotragus
That sound so nice what a wonderful thing to be witnessing in your own backyard. It seems u have a great birding paradise around your house! :D


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