Colloquial (Common) Names: Oranjekeelkalkoentjie (Afrikaans)

Taxonomy: Class: Aves; Order: Passeriformes; Family: Motacillidae (two subspecies from South Africa).

Identification: Males and females greyish brown on the back with darker streaks, black bills and long, pale legs and a long, backward-pointing toe with long nail. Males have a bright orange throat patch surrounded by a black collar and vivid yellow chest plumage. Females with a dirty yellow throat and creamy white chest plumage.

Size: 19-20cm

Distribution: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Free State, Gauteng and North West. Patchy distribution in Limpopo Province. Also in Lesotho and Swaziland.

Habitat: Grassland, Fynbos and Savanna Biomes where they have a preference for moist grasslands.

Activity & Behaviour: Actively forage during the day, often in dense grass.

Diet & Feeding: Insects, including grasshoppers, beetles and termites and known to scratch open termite mounds.

Reproduction: Females lay 1-4 oval, creamy-white eggs in a nest constructed between grass tufts. Incubation is short lasting only two weeks.

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

References and Recommended Further Reading:

  • Hockey, P., W. Dean & P. Ryan (eds). 2005. Roberts – Birds of Southern Africa, VIIth edition. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.
  • Sinclair, I. & P. Ryan. 2009. Complete Photographic Field Guide – Birds of Southern Africa. Struik Nature.

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