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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Order: Passeriformes (perching birds)

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)

Families indigenous to southern Africa

Pittidae (pittas)

One Species indigenous to southern Africa: African pitta Pitta angolensis. It is an intra-African breeding migrant, arriving in southern and south-central Africa to breed around November-December, then departing around March-April for its non-breeding grounds in equatorial Africa. In southern Africa it is scarce and localized, mainly occupying evergreen forest or dense thickets, often on the banks of rivers or streams, foraging for invertebrates in the leaf litter. Its nest is a dome-shaped structure made of twigs, leaves and plant debris, usually placed in the uppermost branches of a tree sapling. Strangely enough, the chicks do not beg for food, they just patiently wait with their mouths open until they are given something.

Eurylaimidae (broadbills)

One Species indigenous to southern Africa: African broadbill Smithornis capensis. It mainly occurs in south-central and southern Africa, where it has populations scattered across northern Zimbabwe, northern Botswana, Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal. It is locally common although difficult to see, as it is extremely inconspicuous, remaining motionless on its perch for long periods. It generally prefers dense forest or woodland, exclusively eating invertebrates. Both sexes construct an oval-shaped nest, which is suspended conspicuously from a low branch of a tree.

Oriolidae (orioles)

Dicruridae (drongos)

Monarchidae (crested-flycatchers, paradise-flycatchers)

Malaconotidae (bush-shrikes, puffbacks, boubous, tchagras, helmet shrikes, batises and wattle-eyes)

Corvidae (crows and ravens)

Laniidae (typical shrikes)

Campephagidae (cuckooshrikes)

Chaetopidae (rock-jumpers)

Paridae (tits, penduline-tits)

Hirundinidae (swallows and martins)

Pycnonotidae (bulbuls, greenbuls, brownbuls, nicators)

Sylviidae (leaf-warblers, babblers, warblers)

Zosteropidae (white-eyes)

Cisticolidae (African warblers)

Alaudidae (larks, sparrowlarks)

Certhiidae (creepers, wrens)

Only one species recorded in southern Africa: Spotted creeper Salpornis spilonotus

Muscicapidae (thrushes, robins, chats, Old World flycatchers)

There are 456 species in 71 genera, occurring worldwide, with 34 species recorded for southern Africa. 

Sturnidae (starlings, mynas, oxpeckers)

Nectariniidae (sunbirds)

Promeropidae (sugarbirds)

Ploceidae (weavers, queleas, widowbirds)

Estrildidae (twinspots, firefinches, waxbills, finches, and mannikins)

Viduidae (whydahs, indigobirds, cuckoo finch)

Passeridae (sparrows, petronias)

Motacillidae (wagtails, pipits and longclaws)

Fringillidae (canaries and buntings)