WHITE WINGED CLIFF CHAT (Myrmecocichla semirufa) Wing 106 – 122 mm

The White Winged Cliff Chat is a bird which is locally frequent to common in the highlands of most of Ethiopia where it lives in gorges, on cliffs, on scrubby mountain sides and in open country among rocks and grasslands; it is uncommon in the north. The Chat occurs usually above 2000 meters (6500 feet) and rarely below 1500 meters (5000 feet). Its preferred habitat in the country varies. In the south in Sidamo it occurs slightly lower between 1500 and 1800 meters (5000 – 6000 feet) in hilly down land rather than rocky country. Mainly black and chestnut in color, both sexes of this chat can be readily distinguished when flying by the white patch on the wings (basal part of primaries). The male Cliff Chat (Myrmecocicha Cinnamomeiventris), similar in appearance to the White winged Cliff Chat, has a white shoulder patch but not the white wing patch: in flight the wings of this species are glossy blue black. The female White Winged Cliff Chat is not as strongly colored as the male; her plumage, especially underneath, is more brownish in color. The young bird is brownish black, spotted above and below with dark buff, like its parents, it too has the distinguishing white wing patch. The White Winged Cliff Chat nests during the rains in June, July and August. Its nest is a compact structure of grass stems and mosses usually placed in a crevice of a rock. The chat is occasionally associated with human settlements where it has been known to nest in holes in stone walls. Its eggs are usually three in number, glossy, white or greenish white, and speckled with fine pale rust color. Its food is undocumented: immature, however, have been seen in Addis Ababa in the rains feeding on recently emerged termites. It has a “modulated flute like song”.

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