Anteater chat

Myrmecocichla aethiops

TAXONOMY

Myrmecocichla aethiops Cabanis, 1850, Senegal. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Northern anteater chat; French: Traquet brun; German: Ameisenschmatzer; Spanish: Hormiguero.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

7.1 in (18 cm); male 1.8-2.3 oz (51-66 g); female 1.7-2.0 oz (47-58 g). Dark, sooty-brown plumage with black bill and legs. White wing patches are conspicous during flight.

DISTRIBUTION

Narrow band across Africa south of Sahara from Senegal to Sudan, locally southern Kenya and extreme northern Tanzania.

HABITAT

Open grassy ground with termite mounds and scattered bushes.

BEHAVIOR

Usually in pairs or small groups, often 5-15 scattered over a small area, perched on bushes, mounds of earth or termite mounds.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Insects, especially moths, and termites, beetles, spiders, and some fruits.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Mostly monogamous but cooperative groups assist at some nests; pairs remain together for several years. Nests in tunnel up to 5 ft (1.5 m) long, dug by both sexes in the side of an earth bank, termite mound, or within an animal burrow; two to five eggs, incubated only by female for 14-16 days; young fledge after 21-23 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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