Platysteira peltata (Black-throated wattle-eye, Wattle-eyed flycatcher) 

Beloogbosbontrokkie [Afrikaans]; Zwartkeel-lelvliegenvanger [Dutch]; Pririt à gorge noire [French]; Schwarzkehl-lappenschnäpper [German]; Olho-carunculado [Portuguese]

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Platysteira peltata (Black-throated wattle-eye, Wattle-eyed flycatcher)   

Black-throated wattle-eye male, Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. [photo Alan Manson ©]

 

For information about this species, see www.birdforum.net/opus/Black-throated_Wattle-eye

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from Angola to Kenya south to southern Africa, absent from the lowland forests of the DRC. In our region it is generally uncommon, with populations scattered across Zimbabwe, Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal. It usually occupies Afromontane and coastal forest, often near a river or stream with vegetation protruding into the water. It can also occur in farm gardens, stands of tall trees with dense undergrowth, dune forest and mangroves.

Distribution of Black-throated wattle-eye in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Green-backed honeybird.

Food 

An extremely active insectivorous forager, it catches most of its prey in the air, although it occasionally gleans them from leaves and branches. It sometimes joins mixed species flocks, along with Spectacled weavers, Red-throated twinspots and Terrestrial bulbuls. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

Breeding

  • The female does most of the nest building work, making a cup out of fine twigs and grass bound together with spider web (see images below). It is usually placed in the fork of a bushy tree's branch, less often amongst the tangled leaves of a creeper.
Platysteira peltata (Black-throated wattle-eye, Wattle-eyed flycatcher) Platysteira peltata (Black-throated wattle-eye, Wattle-eyed flycatcher) 

Black-throated wattle-eye male at its nest. [photo Peter Steyn ©]

Black-throated wattle-eye female at its nest. [photo Peter Steyn ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from about September-January, peaking from October-November.
  • It typically lays 2 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 16-18 days; the male does all of the hunting. They are extremely aggressive to intruders at the nest, attacking other birds, snakes and even humans with their claws and beak.
  • The chicks are are brooded by both sexes, although the female does most of the work. The female also forages in the area around the nest while the male hunts further afield, occasionally bringing food to her. The chicks leave the nest at about 14-16 days old, after which they learn to hunt. Even though they can fend for themselves, they still remain with their parents for about 6 months more.

Threats

Near-threatened in South Africa, largely due to habitat destruction. It is still well represented in protected areas however, especially the Kruger National Park, Mkuzi Game Reserve and Greater St Lucia Wetland Park

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

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