African broadbill

Smithornis capensis

SUBFAMILY

Eurylaiminae (Smithornithinae) TAXONOMY

Platyrhynchus capensis A. Smith, 1840, Natal (coastal forests of northern Zululand). Nine subspecies are recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Eurylaime du cap; German: Kapbreitrachen; Spanish: Pico Ancho Africano.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm); 0.7-1.1 oz (20-31 g). Brownish head and upperparts. Underparts buffy streaked with blackish.

DISTRIBUTION

S. c. capensis: South Africa in coastal Natal and southern Zululand. S. c. camerunensis: Cameroon, Gabon, Central Africa. S. c. delacouri: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Ghana. S. c. albigularis: Central Africa, in northern Malawi, northern Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and isolated in Angola. S. c. meinertzhageni: highlands of northeastern Demo-catic Republic of Congo and adjacent Rwanda and Uganda, western Kenya. S. c. medianus: highlands of central Kenya and northeastern Tanzania. S. c. suahelicus: from southeastern Kenya south to Mozambique, as far inland in Tanzania as the Uluguru and Nguru Mountains. S. c. conjunctus: from southern Angola through northeastern Namibia to northwestern Mozambique. S. c. cryptoleucus: from southwestern Tanzania

and southern Malawi south to South Africa (Zululand). Although more common below 2,300 ft (c. 700 m) elevation, it can be found as high as 8,000 ft (2,440 m) in the Usumbara Mountains, Tanzania.

HABITAT

Variable; generally inhabits the understory of primary and secondary forests, riparian forests, a variety of woodlands, dense thickets and brush, disturbed areas, montane forests, and open agricultural lands.

BEHAVIOR

Territorial. Both sexes commonly perform elliptical display flights. During courtship both birds face each other on a horizontal branch and flick their wings, changing between a perching and a hanging position.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Insectivorous. Forage by sallying and occasionally tumbling to the ground.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeding season very variable depending on locality. Lays two to three eggs.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Locally common, but scarce in some areas. This species has suffered from habitat destruction in some places.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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