Smithornis capensis (African broadbill) 

BreŽbek [Afrikaans]; Kaapse breedbek [Dutch]; Eurylaime du Cap [French]; Kap-Breitrachen [German]; Bocarra-africana [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (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 > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes

Smithornis capensis (African broadbill)  

African broadbill male. [photo Jeff Poklen ©]

 

The African broadbill mainly occurs in south-central and southern Africa, where it has populations scattered across northern Zimbabwe and Botswana, Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal. It is locally common although difficult to see, as it is extremely inconspicuous, remaining motionless on its perch for long periods. It generally prefers dense forest or woodland, exclusively eating invertebrates, such as grasshoppers, beetles and spiders. Both sexes construct an oval-shaped nest, which is suspended conspicuously from a low branch of a tree.

Distribution and habitat

It has two separate populations: one in coastal West Africa and the other, larger one in the area from Uganda to southern Africa. Here it occurs in small areas of northern Zimbabwe and Botswana, Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal. It is locally common although difficult to see, as it is extremely inconspicuous, remaining motionless on its perch for long periods. It usually occupies coastal evergreen or lowland forest, deciduous thickets or dense woodland.

Distribution of African broadbill 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 exclusively eats invertebrates, foraging on the ground, in trees and occasionally in flight. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

Breeding

  • Both sexes build the nest, which is an oval-shaped structure with a side entrance, made of bark, dry leaves, twigs, grass and rootlets, often held together by strands of spider web. It is not concealed, in fact hangs conspicuously from a low branch of a tree, usually about 1.5-3.0 m above ground.
  • Laying dates vary from country to country, however egg-laying season is usually from October-January.
  • It lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 16-17 days, while the male keeps watch outside, signalling danger with a high-pitched call.
  • Little is known about the development and care of the young, except that they are fed mainly by the male.

Threats

Not threatened globally, however it has been badly affected by deforestation in southern Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal.

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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