Blackstart

Cercomela melanura

TAGFXONOMY

Cercomela melanura Temminck, 1824, Arabia. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Traquet a queue noir; German: Schwarzschwanz; Spanish: Colinegro Real.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5.5 in (14 cm); 0.49-0.53 oz (14-15 g). Gray-brown upperparts with black tail. White eye ring. Buff cheek, underparts, and wing edges.

DISTRIBUTION

Locally in Africa along southern edge of Sahara, Red Sea coast, Israel, Jordan, Arabia.

HABITAT

Rocky, hot hills with or without acacia scrub, thorny bushes in desert ravines and wadis, scree slopes, dry river beds.

BEHAVIOR

In pairs; tame and fearless; flits between rocks and bushes, often perching deep inside bush, or drops to ground and hops about; flicks and flirts black tail, half-opens wings.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Insects and their larvae; a few berries.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous, territorial, solitary breeder, nesting in cavity in rocks, scree, or wall, under eaves of buildings; three to four eggs.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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