Sarothrura affinis (Striped flufftail)
Gestreepte vleikuiken [Afrikaans]; Strepenral [Dutch]; Rāle affin
[French]; Streifenzwergralle [German]; Frango-d'įgua-estriado
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Striped flufftail female on nest.
[photo Peter Steyn
©] Striped flufftail male on nest. [photo Peter Steyn
©] Distribution and habitat
Occurs in isolated populations from Kenya, through
Tanzania, Malawi and northern Mozambique to southern Africa. Here it is uncommon
to rare in central Mozambique, Swaziland, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern and
Western Cape. It mainly occupies habitats with dense cover adjacent to open areas
for foraging; in the Western Cape it favours moist mountain fynbos with
Psoralea) and mountain daisies ( Osmitopsis) while
elsewhere it dry upland grassland with woody vegetation such as
Protea, Oldwood ( Leucosidea sericea) and sagewoods ( Buddleja)
and sour grassland dominated by Red grass ( Themeda triandra). It may also
move into croplands to forage, especially fields of Millet ( Setaria anceps)
and Lucerne ( Medicago sativa).
Distribution of Striped flufftail in southern
Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird
Atlas Project (©
, University of
Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range
from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).
Animal Demography unit
for the latest distribution
from the SABAP2. See here Call
Click for call
Recorded by Warwick Tarboton, Graskop, South
[© Transvaal Museum]
Predators and parasites
Movements and migrations
Mainly sedentary, although it may make local
movements in response to increased temperatures or fires.
Mainly eats insects, foraging throughout the day by
searching for food on the ground and around the bases of grass tufts. The following food items have been recorded
in its diet:
seeds of grasses and sedges
Monogamous, territorial solitary nester, probably with a lifelong pair
The nest (see images at the top of the page) is a bowl of dried grass or
rootlets, typically concealed in a tuft of sedge or grass which is woven
into the structure.
Egg-laying season is from September-March.
It lays 4-5 eggs, which are incubated by the male by day and the female
at night for at least 15 days.
The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching, with the female
Not globally threatened, although
South Africa and Threatened in Zimbabwe, largely due to overgrazing, loss
of grasslands and too frequent burning. References
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005.
- Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker
Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.