Tag Archives: Southern Boubou

Southern Boubou

Laniarius ferrugineus

The shy Southern Boubou is heard far more often than it is seen and engages in a melodious duet that is often quite unique to the pair in note-combinations and pitch. They inhabit forests, thickets, dense coastal shrublands and riverine vegetation where they forage in the tangled undergrowth for insects, worms, snails, lizards, eggs, fruits, nectar and seeds. They have also adapted to well-planted gardens in some towns and cities. Adults grow to 22cm in length and weigh around 60g.

Southern Boubous are usually seen singly or in monogamous pairs that claim a small, lifelong territory for themselves. The females are responsible for building the shallow cup-shaped nest (using grass, twigs and roots) in a densely-leaved plant, but both parents take turns to incubate the clutch of 2 or 3 eggs for a little over two weeks and feeding the newly hatched chicks, which fledge at about 2 weeks old and stay with their parents for up to 3 months longer. Their breeding season spans spring and summer.

Apart from South Africa (where it is found from the Western Cape coast and adjacent interior, through the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal to Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and North West Province) the Southern Boubou occurs only in southern Mozambique, Swaziland and a small portion of Botswana and Zimbabwe along the course of the Limpopo River. It is considered to be of least concern by the IUCN.

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Now this is brave!

While walking along the edge of the Tsitsikamma forests at Storms River Mouth Rest Camp today, Joubert and I came across a very brave Southern Boubou tangling with a deadly venomous Boomslang. The bird succeeded in driving the snake away, apparently none the worse for the encounter.

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