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Apalis thoracica (Bar-throated apalis)

Bandkeelkleinjantjie [Afrikaans]; Ugxakhweni [Xhosa]; uMabhelwane [Zulu]; N'walanga, Xinyamukhwarani (generic terms for apalis) [Tsonga]; halsbandapalis [Dutch]; Apalis à collier [French]; Halsband-feinsänger [German]; Apalis-de-coleira [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Cisticolidae > Genus: Apalis

Apalis thoracica (Bar-throated apalis)
Bar-throated apalis. [photo Callie de Wet ©] Bar-throated apalis, Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa. [photo Duncan Robertson ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in patches from Tanzania through Malawi and Zambia to southern Africa. Here it is common across much of Zimbabwe, central Mozambique, south-eastern Botswana and South Africa, preferring evergreen forest, valley bushveld, woodland along drainage lines in the Karoo and scrub around sand dunes. It is occasionally found in grassland and alien tree stands and plantations.

Distribution of Bar-throated apalis in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Klaas's cuckoo.


It mainly eats invertebrates gleaned from leaves and twigs, supplemented with fruit. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is an oval ball with a side entrance, built of fine grass, moss, lichens and rootlets, secured with spider web. It is typically placed in the foliage of shrub, sapling or creeper, often 1-3 metres above ground.
  • Egg-laying season is mainly from August-March, peaking from November-December.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 14-18 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 13-18 days, after which they are still dependent on their parents for food for some time.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.