Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

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Diet of some insectivorous passerines in semi-arid regions of South Africa

G Kopij


Stomach contents (n = 270) of 21 insectivorous bird species in six families (Paridae, Remizidae, Sylviidae, Muscicapidae, Laniidae, Malaconotidae) collected over a period of 10 years in semi-arid regions of South Africa were examined and identified. BrubruNilaus afer, Brown-crowned Tchagra Tchagra australis,Crimson-breasted Shrike Laniarius atrococcineus, BokmakierieTelophorus zeylonus, Pririt Batis Batis pririt (Malaconotidae), Common Fiscal Lanius collarisand Magpie Shrike Corvinella melanoleuca(Laniidae) had eaten mainly grasshoppers and beetles. Stomachs of Ashy Tit Parus cinerascens and Grey Tit P. afercontained mainly small beetles and insect larvae; those ofLayard's Tit-Babbler Parisoma layardiand Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler P. subcaeruleum were mainly seeds, berries and insects. Other sylviid species, including Long-billed CrombecSylvietta rufescens, Yellow-bellied Eremomela Eremomela icteropygialis and Rufous-eared Warbler Malcorus pectoralis had eaten small beetles and seeds. Black-chested Prinia Prinia flavicans, Karoo Prinia P. maculosa and Drakensberg Prinia P. hypoxantha had fed mainly on insects. Chat Flycatcher Bradornis infuscatus, Marico Flycatcher B. mariquensis and Fiscal Flycatcher Sigelus silensfed mainly on termites, ants, beetles and seeds. Seeds and berries were recorded as frequent items in the stomach contents of species generally regarded as insectivores.

Ostrich 2005, 76(1&2): 85–90

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