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Robin-Chat, Cape

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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arks
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Robin-Chat, Cape

Unread post by arks » Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:35 pm

I was surprised that there seems to be no topic for this bird, so here's my contribution :D Seen in my garden in Darling on 1 November 2009.

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Scottm
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Scottm » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:24 pm

Taken in the Karoo, December, and probably about the size of a starling, if my memory serves me correctly..... Any ideas?

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Rusty Justy » Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:30 pm

Cape Robin-Chat :D
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Scottm » Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:32 pm

Thanks Rusty..... We get Cape Robins in our garden here in JHB, and this was VERY different. :doh: The colours were not vibriant at all, and I believe the bird to be a bit bigger than what I recognise in our garden as a Cape Robin (Robin-chat). Also, those here in JHB are secretive birds, never seeming to venture too far from the undergrowth, whereas this one was on the top of the tree, in the open veld. Having said that, there seem to be nothing else in the book I have that comes close to the similarity of the colours, so I guess I'll just have to concede. :redface: I'll try to capture the local Cape Robin-chat (on SLR :cam: , not in a net :naughty: ) and post the two side-by-side later for visual comparison :doh:
"Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints"

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Bird of the Year - 2009: Cape Robin Chat

Unread post by Cherries » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:31 pm

Sasol Bird of the Year for 2009 - Cape Robin Chat

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Certainly one of my favourites to watch in the garden. You also find this bird in a wide variety of habitats and eats insects, spiders, worms, small frogs, lizards and fruit.

Sasol Birding Fair at Johannesburg Zoo 1-3 May 2009

Highlights: Camping in the zoo on 1 May then enjoy an early morning guided walk with Mark Anderson of Birdlife SA.

2 May: Birds of Prey Lecture followed by two other talks and a tour of the zoo.
3 May: Common Garden Birds in Gauteng by Faansie Peacock plus, plus, plus.

That is just a taste. You can learn to plant indigenous to attract more birds to your garden. Also a bird photography course is being offered.

Wow. I think Jo'burg Zoo will be very busy that long weekend!
Jackie

Croc Bridge - 6 April 2012
Berg en Dal - 7&8 April 2012

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Re: Bird of the Year - 2009: Cape Robin Chat

Unread post by Cherries » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:55 pm

Hi Salamanda

In the latest Africa Bird & Birding Mag (Apr/May 09) where I found out about the Birding Fair at the zoo, one individual bird had incorporated 70 different bird calls into his repertoire!! :big_eyes:

So this little fellow is going to keep us all running for a very long time!
Jackie

Croc Bridge - 6 April 2012
Berg en Dal - 7&8 April 2012

clemence
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identification bird

Unread post by clemence » Wed May 13, 2009 4:53 pm

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in my garden in november 2008 for few days,
always with a Cape robin Chat behind him, following and chasing him
looked larger than the Cape Robin Chat with him

is it an immature cape robin chat ou immature karoo thrush ?

thank you
clemence

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carolynn
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Re: identification bird

Unread post by carolynn » Wed May 13, 2009 6:03 pm

Is that a bit of tan under the tail? I think imm Cape Robin chat.
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Re: identification bird

Unread post by clemence » Thu May 14, 2009 9:47 am

all right, under the tail, it is all orange, it's not becoming darker at the end.
So with this it would be a imm Cape Robin-Chat.

But he is larger than the adult ?????
And the bill is not thin ??

+++
clemence

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Re: identification bird

Unread post by Moegaai » Sat May 16, 2009 12:48 pm

Hi Clemence,

I see no-one answered this question yet... It is actually very common for an immature bird to be larger the adult of the species. It's simple, it's because they are so well fed! They are already feeding for themselves, while at the same time the parents are also still feeding them. Furthermore they still have a bit of downy feathering at this stage, also giving them a slightly larger appearance.

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arks
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Re: identification bird

Unread post by arks » Sat May 16, 2009 3:14 pm

Thanks for that very interesting bit of info, Moegaai 8) So logical, yet I'd never have guessed.
RSA 2016
4,5 April Melville
6-19 April KNP: Croc Bridge, Olifants, Shingwedzi, Pafuri Border
20-24 April Mapungubwe: Leokwe
25 April-28 May Darling
29 May-19 June Cape Town
* * *
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by JoelR » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:48 am

Cape Robin-chat.

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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Robin-Chat, Cape

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:29 pm

This bird is the best-loved garden bird in South Africa... and this is all there is to read/see about it! :shock:

That has to be corrected... watch this space :wink:
715 Latest lifers: Whyte's barbet, Streaky-breasted flufftail, Southern hyliota, Spotted creeper, Miombo double-collared sunbird, African golden oriole, Boulder chat, Miombo rock-thrush, Red-faced crombec, Auger buzzard, Eurasian curlew

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Re: Robin-Chat, Cape

Unread post by JenB » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:33 pm

Watching this space......... :whistle:
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Re: Robin-Chat, Cape

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:02 pm

Although the Cape robin-chat is not the only specie that uses a poo management system to safeguard their nests against predators, this was the first opportunity I had to record this strategy at its origin and most critical location… in the nest! This also serves to keep the nest dry and clean and reduces exposure to pathogens and parasites.

In essence the Cape robin-chat chicks put their poop in a strong mucus membrane that can be carried away by the parents without puncturing the bundle. Fecal sacs are just like disposable diapers for birds! :wink: The parent encourages the chick to deliver its parcel directly after having fed the chick. The process is very quick… faster than you can say: "Kuhwrrrrap!" …the parent is gone… poo parcel and all!

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For the first couple of days after hatching, parent may actually eat many of the chicks' fecal sacs. Initially the chicks' intestines don't have much bacteria to help them digest their food. Before the bacteria kick in, the droppings are full of partially-digested food items so that the parents can take advantage of the food still in the droppings. Eating the poo parcels permits the parents to give more of the prey they find to their babies rather than eating this food themselves.

Making fecal sacs takes protein. But it's worth the cost when nest sanitation is at risk, but as soon as the chicks leave the nest, they stop producing fecal sacs and make a poop just like an adult bird… one that splats instead of bouncing.

I knew something was taking place when I noticed the robin-chats busily fluttering about in the same corner of the garden. For years I have been trying to locate their nest. This time, determined to succeed, I sat down in a comfortable chair close by to watch them go about their business. It still took three hours to discover the location of the nest.

She is raising two chicks in a cup-shaped nest that she and her partner for life built together in the embrace of a creeper that covers a gazebo in our garden. She did most of the construction work, building with course plant material and thickly lining the nest with soft materials like animal hair, lichen and fine rootlets. It is cleverly camouflaged in the complex joint of a climber that covers the gazebo, about 1.3m off the ground. The female performed all the incubation and brooding duties. The male's participation in caring for the young is limited to feeding, initially he provides very little of the food, but this contribution is said to steadily increase as the demand from the chicks grows. So far I have not seen that happen, though. Zorro (so named by a friend and the name stuck :lol: ) hangs about on guard duty, continuously supporting the female bird with soft, guttural three and four syllable “all-is-clear, go-go-my dear” encouragements.

And what a hunter she is! There in the nest she is every 20 minutes or so with a load of food. And the variety is stunning. She forages for food on the ground, whisking leaves and litter, on lawns and in trees, sometimes hawking prey aerially. Cossypha caffra mainly eats insects, but sometimes ripe fruit is used. Its prey includes ants, butterflies, bees, beetles, caterpillars, millipedes, termites, spiders, crickets, mantids, moths, wasps, locusts, grasshoppers, katydids and a variety of flies.
Some samples of her catches are reflected below.

Worms
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Milipede and caterpillar
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Mixed grill Katydid, moth
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Hover fly (a harmless bee mimic)
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As I collected photographs of this female, I was able to decipher the number on her ring. It turns out to be CV43517, a ring put on her by my ringer friend Colin Williams in October last year. Zorro also wears a ring, but we have not been able to read the number yet.

The Cape Robin-chat, is probably South Africa’s best known and best loved garden bird. They lay 2 to 4 eggs. The robin-chat is the favourite breeding host of the Red-chested cuckoo (Piet-my-vrou). The Piet-my-vrou does not remove the robin eggs, but cuckoos hatch about 3 or 4 days sooner than their hosts. Then the young cuckoo chick, specially equipped for the job, tip the robin chicks out when they hatch. This often happens while the female robin is busy brooding. They say that the baby robin is pushed out on the hollow back of the young cuckoo, over the side. In spite of the female robin being present, she seems to take no notice of the whole procedure.

The cuckoo chick, once it is alone in the nest with no competition for food, grows very fast. At 10 days it is often about twice the size of the adult robin. When the robin comes to feed the chick, it seems as if the youngster grabs the food, robin and all, it’s gape is so big. At this stage the robin often sits on the back of the imposter chick while feeding it!

C. caffra breeds for most of the year, but summer is the peak breeding season. Now is the best time to try and find that breeding pair’s nest. Approximately 1/8 of Zorro’s chicks can turn out to be a Piet-my-vrou step child. To find something like that in a robin-chat nest is a Jackpot happening. I have high hopes of finding this phenomenon some day.
Cape robin-chats feature in virually every garden in our big cities! It is the first bird to start singing in the morning! They are skulkers, though... spending much time in thickets. If you have a bird bath, that is where you will see them quite easily as they love to take a dip!
715 Latest lifers: Whyte's barbet, Streaky-breasted flufftail, Southern hyliota, Spotted creeper, Miombo double-collared sunbird, African golden oriole, Boulder chat, Miombo rock-thrush, Red-faced crombec, Auger buzzard, Eurasian curlew


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