Reproductive biology

Although there are detailed studies of the breeding biology of the white-fronted and the crimson chats, the breeding biology of the other species is less well known. This account is based mainly on the white-fronted chat. Chats have long breeding seasons, peaking in late winter and spring (August-November), and breeding again after the rainy season in late summer and fall (March-April). Up to five attempts may be made in a season. There is no evidence of polygamy or cooperative breeding among the chats. Nests are usually placed 1-4 ft (0.3-1.2 m) from the ground in small bushes, often saltbush or bluebush, and occasionally on the ground. Nests are cup-shaped, and made from grass, rushes, twigs, and plant fiber, and sometimes with mammal hair or fur and feathers. Eggs are fleshy or pinkish white with small reddish spots at the larger end. Clutches are of two to four eggs, maximum five (mean of 3.1 for white-fronted chats and 2.7 for crimson chats). Both males and females incubate the eggs, which hatch at 13-14 days. Both parents brood and feed the young, with a rate of seven visits per parent per hour. Young fledge at about 14 days in white-fronted chats, and a few days earlier in crimson and orange chats. Approximately 30% of nests succeed. Most failures are due to predation, and known predators include cats, foxes, snakes, and ravens. A small proportion of nests are parasitised by the Horsefield's bronze cuckoo (Chrysococcyx basalis).

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