Leaflove

Phyllastrephus scandens

TAXONOMY

Phyllastrephus scandens Swainson, 1837, West Africa. Closest allies Thescelocichla and Chlorocichla flavicollis, based on bill shape. Two races recognized based on plumage and wing length.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Leaflove; French: Bulbul a queue rousse; German: Uferbulbul; Spanish: Amante de Hojas.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5.9 in (15 cm); 1.1-1.9 oz (33-53 g). Gray head, back gray-olive, bright, rusty tail, feathers of tail and rump fluffy. Some black bristles on nape of neck and near bill. Belly creamy whitish yellow. Sexes alike. Juvenile mostly olive-gray with rusty wash, chin and underparts white, undertail pale rust.

DISTRIBUTION

Endemic to east central Africa; Sudan, western Gambia, Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Ivory Coast, Ghana,

Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, southern Congo, Central African Republic, and Zaire.

HABITAT

Forest and thickets near water.

BEHAVIOR

Moves in pairs or small flocks; will defend communal territory with chorus. Drops from high perch into streams to bathe, flies back to perch to shake and preen, then drops again. Groups produce loud, raucous chorus.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages in canopy, on ground, and in vegetation for insects and their larvae, also eats small snails, seeds, and berries.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Territorial during breeding season. Cup-shaped nest suspended in twigs by cobwebs, appears too small for the bird. Incubation by female only.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Locally common, though fragmented distribution.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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