Last week our African paradise flycatchers returned home. Little is known about their migratory habits although it is most likely an intra-african migrant. According to a farmer nearby, they normally return to our area to breed on the 15th of October. Our couple that live in the tree right next to our veranda returned on the 1st of November. What fascinates me is that they return to the exact same tree which is one-in-a-million here.
They were already in residence when we moved into the cottages and had the most perfect little nest with eggs when we spotted them. The nest in the image is a lot untidier than our nest. It is a perfect,tightly woven, little cup which the birds fill and cover with spiders webs so that the eggs lie on a silky bed. The nest looks way to small for the adult bird and when sitting on the nest one adult bird perches over the cup opening. This is not a family home.
Last year we watched the eggs hatch and we could see the little open beaks of the birds as they waited for food. I hope we get to see this again – I will try to get pictures this time.
Terpsiphone viridis (African paradise-flycatcher)
A stunning bird with a long chestnut red tail and blue-grey head. Size: 17-20 cm (35 cm in breeding males, of which 18 cm is the tail) – about the same size as a sparrow, but with a long or very long tail. Afrikaans: Paradysvlieëvanger
- Both sexes participate in the construction of the nest, usually sharing the workload equally. It consists of a small cup of twigs and bark held together with spider web, decorated with lichen and often a “trail” of spider web and leaves dangling from its base.
- Egg-laying season peaks from October-December.
- It lays 1-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 11-19 days. They change shifts every 20-60 minutes, although the female often does most of the incubating at night.
- The chicks are brooded almost constantly for the first day or so, while they are fed small portions of insect prey. As they get older, their parents brood and feed them less often until they leave the nest at about 10-16 days old. They stay in a family group with their parents until another clutch of eggs is laid, at which point they become fully independent.