White-headed robin-chat

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White-headed robin-chat
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Cossypha
Species: C. heinrichi
Binomial name
Cossypha heinrichi
Rand, 1955

The white-headed robin-chat (Cossypha heinrichi) is a species of bird in the family Muscicapidae.[2] It is found in northern Angola and the western Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is threatened by habitat loss, and its IUCN conservation status is vulnerable.

Taxonomy[edit]

In 1954, Gerd Heinrich collected bird specimens in Angola, and the specimens were shipped to the Chicago Natural History Museum. Three of the specimens were white-headed robin-chats, and in 1955, Austin L. Rand described them as Cossypha heinrichi.[3] The species is monotypic.[4]

Description[edit]

The white-headed robin-chat is 22–23 cm (8.7–9.1 in) long and weighs 56–69 g (2.0–2.4 oz). The head and neck are white.[4] The entirely white head is unique among the African robins.[1] The mantle, back and scapulars are olive-brown, with the back and scapulars being greyer. The rump is rufous-orange. The central tail feathers are black, and the outer feathers are orange-rufous.[4] The flight feathers and wing coverts are blackish brown, with olive-brown edges. The underwing coverts are grey. The underparts are rufous-chestnut or sienna. The beak is black, and the legs are grey or black. The female has a shorter tail than the male.[4] The juvenile bird's head and breast are buffish-brown, and its back has orange-buff spots. It has browner underparts and brownish-grey legs. Juveniles moulting into first-year plumage have been observed in April and November.[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

In northern Angola, the white-headed robin-chat has only been recorded in two areas,[1] including the type locality about 30 km (19 mi) north of Calandula.[4] In the western Democratic Republic of the Congo, it has been recorded in Bombo-Lumene Forest Reserve and a few nearby sites.[1] In Angola, the bird occurs in the undergrowth of gallery forests at an elevation of 1,250 m (4,100 ft), and it is sometimes found in savannas. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it has been found in isolated patches of thick forest.[1]

Behaviour[edit]

The white-headed robin-chat eats insects,[5] foraging for driver ants on the ground and also catching insects in the air.[4] Its song is repeated whistles that begin quietly and then become much louder. A high-pitched whistle has also been recorded.[6] During observations in 2005, playback of its voice caused a "frantic" response.[7] It often fans its tail.[5] Its breeding is not well known. In Angola, observations suggest that the breeding season includes February, October and November.[4] In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it breeds from September to November.[5]

Status[edit]

The population size is estimated at 6,000 to 15,000 mature individuals and 10,000 to 19,999 total individuals. The population is probably declining because of habitat loss. In Bombo-Lumene Forest Reserve, the species is threatened by deforestation for charcoal. In Angola, forest clearance and slash-and-burn agriculture threaten it. Because of its small range and threatened habitat, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has assessed the species as vulnerable.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f BirdLife International (2016). "Cossypha heinrichi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T22709840A94225027. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22709840A94225027.en. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Gill, F.; Donsker, D. (eds.). "Chats, Old World flycatchers". IOC World Bird List Version 7.1. Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  3. ^ Rand, Austin L. (1955). "A New Species of Thrush from Angola". Fieldiana Zoology. Chicago Natural History Museum. 34 (31): 327–329. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Clement, Peter (2016). Robins and Chats. Bloomsbury. pp. 340–341. ISBN 9781408155967. 
  5. ^ a b c "Species factsheet: Cossypha heinrichi". birdlife.org. BirdLife International. Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  6. ^ Mills, Michael S. L. (2009). "Vocalisations of Angolan birds: new descriptions and other notes". Bulletin of the African Bird Club. 16 (2): 150–166. 
  7. ^ Sinclair, Ian; Chamberlain, David; Chamberlain, Margot; vaz Pinto, Pedro (2007). "Observations of three little-known bird species in northern Angola". Bulletin of the African Bird Club. 14 (1): 55–56.