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Topic : Landbirds

Article 49 bullet 18 November 2008

Interesting Crombec roosting site

by Guy Upfold and Hugh Chittenden

The following photos were taken in August 2008 on the western shores of Lake Ngami in central western Botswana. We spent two nights camping on the lake edge below Acacia trees that dominated the surrounding woodland.

Long-billed Crombecs

Long-billed Crombec

While collecting firewood at dusk, G.U. disturbed Long-billed Crombecs Sylvietta rufescens that were dropping down from the tall Acacias to roost in the 1.5 m high dry old and leafless Large Thorn-apple Datura ferox plants not 15 m from our tents.

roosting Crombecs

One of the crombecs roosting between two seed heads.

The birds (about 8 altogether) soon returned to their preferred roost site even with all seven campers standing within 25 m of their selected site in the Datura plants.

roosting Crombecs

One of the roosting Crombecs being pointed out by Guy Upfold.

The small buffy coloured birds almost matched the size and colour of the Datura seed heads, but lacked of course the long spines that protrude from the seed capsules. The camouflage was magnificent.

roosting Crombecs

Guy Upfold shining a torch on the ‘sleeping’ crombecs.

Many of the passerines in the area roosted in the tall surrounding Acacia trees that night but the crombecs specifically selected the spiny Datura seed heads against which to roost.



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