Sarothrura rufa (Red-chested flufftail)
Rooiborsvleikuiken [Afrikaans]; Roodborstral
[Dutch]; Râle à camail [French]; Rotbrust-zwergralle [German];
(animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia >
Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates) > Gnathostomata (jawed
vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class:
Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) >
Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota >
(reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria >
Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory
dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) >
Order: Gruiformes > Family:
Red-chested flufftail, Grabouw, South Africa.
[photo Andre du
Distribution and habitat
Occurs in patches of sub-Saharan
Africa, from Sierra Leone to Ethiopia south to southern Africa. In southern
Africa it is
locally common in northern Botswana, the Caprivi Strip (Namibia), Zimbabwe,
central and southern Mozambique and eastern and south-western South Africa. It
generally prefers marshy, freshwater habitats with permanently dense cover, such
as swamps, wet grassland, vleis, marshes, streams, lakes, ponds, dams and rivers
with dense riparian vegetation.
Distribution of Red-chested flufftail 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.
Predators and parasites
Movements and migrations
Adults are largely
resident, making local movements in the non-breeding season, while
juveniles disperse from their parents' territories after becoming
Mainly eats insects and other
invertebrates, doing most of its foraging on the ground, probing the mud and
vegetation in search of prey. The following food items have been recorded in its
Monogamous, territorial solitary nester with a life-long
pair bond, although males may force copulation with other females in the
The nest is built solely by the female, consisting of a cup
of grass or dead plants, sometimes with a partial canopy or dome made of
live stems. It is typically placed in clump of grasses such as wild rice (Oryza
perennis) and Bedding grass (Pennisetum macrourum), often
waterlogged at the edge of marshy areas.
Egg-laying season is from September-May.
It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for
about 14-18 days, with the male taking the day shift while the female
incubates at night.
The chicks leave the nest within 2-3 days of hatching, brooded
regularly under the wings the female, with both parents feeding them on
insects and other invertebrates. They typically become independent at about
3-4 weeks old, taking their first flight 2-3 weeks later, although they may
solicit food from the parents for some time after this.
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.