Occurs in patches of sub-Saharan Africa, from Guinea to
Ethiopia south to southern Africa, where it is locally common in Zimbabwe's
eastern highlands and adjacent Mozambique, Swaziland and eastern South Africa.
It generally prefers forest, thick bush and other dense cover such as dense
evergreen and deciduous thickets, suburban and farm gardens as well as old,
overgrown cultivated land.
Little known, it is thought to be resident in
some areas and locally migratory in others, travelling away from
high altitude areas when they get to cold in winter.
Eats a variety of invertebrates, doing most of its foraging
in leaf litter or among short grass, walking slowly while digging and probing
with its bill in search of food. The following food items have been recorded
in its diet:
Monogamous, territorial solitary nester, with pairs staying together for the duration of the breeding season.
The nest is built by the female in 2-3 days, consisting of a domed
structure with an entrance hole at one end, usually made of dead leaves or
grass, twigs, moss and bark and lined with fine grass, rootlets, moss or
leaf fragments. It is typically placed in a shallow excavated depression,
well concealed beneath dense cover such as Forest grass (Oplismenus
hirtellus) or herbaceous creepers, including alien dead nettles (Lamium),
Egg-laying season is from September-April, peaking in and around
It lays 3-5 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 15-16
The chicks leave the nest within 1-2 days of hatching and are fed and
brooded by both parents, taking their first flight at about 19-21 days old.
At this point the adults chase them away before laying the next batch of
eggs - they can rear up to four broods per breeding season.
Not threatened, in fact its population is on the increase
in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
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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