Anthoscopus minutus (Cape penduline-tit) 

Gryskapokvoël [Afrikaans]; Kaapse kapokmees [Dutch]; Rémiz de Carol [French]; Weißstirn-beutelmeise [German]; Pássaro-do-algodão do Cabo [Portuguese]

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Anthoscopus minutus (Cape penduline-tit) 

Anthoscopus minutus (Cape penduline-tit) 

Cape penduline-tit, West Coast National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Cape penduline-tit, West Coast National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Near-endemic to southern Africa, occurring in South Africa, Botswana, eastern Zimbabwe, Namibia (excluding the Namib Desert) and extralimitally in south-western Angola. It is locally common across the western half of South Africa, extending east into the North-West Province, Limpopo Province and Gauteng. It generally prefers semi-arid or arid dwarf shrubland, as well as dry Acacia savanna.

Distribution of Cape penduline-tit 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.  

Food 

It mainly eats insects and their larvae, supplemented with small fruit. Family groups forage together, gleaning prey from leaves and bark, often searching spider webs for invertebrates. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

Breeding

  • Monogamous, facultative cooperative breeder, meaning that the breeding pair are occasionally assisted by up to two helpers. It usually produces two broods per breeding season.
  • Both sexes construct the nest, which is an oval-shaped bag built of plant down, wool (sometimes black, from Karakul and Nama sheep), fur of hares or Angora goats, and other woolly material. A collapsible entrance spout is placed near the top, which can be opened and closed by drawing the top and bottom sides of the tube together. Underneath the entrance there is a small ridge which serves as a perch for the bird to open the entrance spout with one foot (see images below). The top and bottom of the nest are usually attached to the twigs of a tree, approximately 1-7 metres above ground. The top and sides of the nest are usually attached with spider web to droopy branches of a thorny tree or bush.
Anthoscopus minutus (Cape penduline-tit) Anthoscopus minutus (Cape penduline-tit)
Adult at nest with entrance closed (top left of nest showing as a horizontal slit). [photo Peter Steyn ©] Cape penduline-tits at their nest, Anysberg, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]
  • Egg-laying season is almost year-round, peaking during summer.
  • It lays 4-7 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for approximately 13-15 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both the parents and the helpers, the food delivery rate increasing as they get older. They leave the nest after 16-22 days, only becoming independent towards the end of the breeding season (fledglings have been observed to roost with the second brood of chicks)

Threats

Not threatened.

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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