Eating ants between chats
HELLO everybody! I trust you all had a good Easter break.
This week we are going to look at a bird that can be passed off as somewhat dull and boring at a glance, but actually has some pretty features as you watch it. The bird I’m talking about is the ant-eating chat.
This bird is a locally common resident of open areas. It is found in the grassland areas here at the coast, although its occurrence is rather patchy, being found more in some areas than others. I see very few (if any) around Port Alfred itself, yet near Boknes and Cannon Rocks they are quite plentiful. The further inland one goes, the more common they are, but in Karoo flats and shrubland, rather than grassy areas.
It is quite easily identified by its medium size, often upright stance and overall brown colouration, yet slightly “scaly” in appearance. The males are slightly darker than the females and have a small white patch on the shoulder, which is unfortunately often hidden. In flight, the ant-eating chat is recognised by its fluttering flight and very distinctive white tips to the wings.
They are often seen in small groups, where they perch conspicuously on a low bush or anthill. They feed on ants and termites, plus whatever other insects it can find. They nest in burrows, which they dig out themselves. The call is a single, short whistle, but the song is quite a complex, slow, low series of warbles.
Well, folks, that's all for this week. Just to remind you, I am available for birdwatching tours in the Port Alfred area. You can contact me on 072-314-0069. Until we “chat” (okay, chirp) again, watch those ants!
NOT ALL DRAB: The ant-eating chat looks dull and boring at a glance but has pretty features like distinctive white wingtips in flight