Fairy warbler

Fairy warbler
Stenostira scita

Photo by Trevor Hardaker (Trevor and Margaret Hardaker)

Common name:
fairy warbler (en); papa-moscas-d’asa-branca (pt); mignard enchanteur (fr); papamoscas duende (es); elfenschnäpper (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

This African species breeds in southern South Africa and Lesotho. Part of the population migrates north to winter as far as southern Namibia and southern Botswana.

These small birds are 11-12 cm long and weigh 4-8 g.

The fairy warbler is mostly found in scrublands, namely karoo and fynbos, also using grasslands, Acacia savannas, plantations and gardens.

They feed on small insects and other arthropods, namely flies, bugs, beetles, wasps, ants and spiders. They hunt by sallying out from a perch or by gleaning their prey from flowers.

Fairy warblers can breed all year round, but with a peak in September-October. The female builds the nest alone, an open cup built of dry grass stems and other plant matter, such as slangbos Stoebe sp., honeythorns Lycium sp. and wild Asparagus sp. Sometimes they also use rubbish and even human hair. The nest is typically placed in a fork of a branch or against the trunk of a tree, mainly Acacia. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which she incubates alone for 13-16 days. The chicks are mainly fed by the female and fledge 15-17 days after hatching.

IUCN status –  LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be rare to common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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