Gewone kakelaar [Afrikaans]; Rooibekkakelaar
[Afrikaans]; Intlekibafazi [Xhosa]; iNhlekabafazi (in Swazi this name is applied
to Arrow-marked babbler), uNukani [Zulu]; Musokoto (also applied to
Scimitarbill) [Kwangali]; Haya (name also applied to Great spotted cuckoo)
[Shona]; Yokoywana (also applied to Common scimitarbill) [Tsonga]; Foofoo
[Tswana]; Groene kakelaar [Dutch]; Irrisor moqueur [French]; Steppenbaumhopf
[German]; Zombeteiro-de-bico-vermelho [Portuguese]
Common in central and eastern southern Africa, preferring habitats ranging
from arid savanna to valley bushveld and wooded gardens. It forages on
trees, running up and down trunks and branches locating food, usually
insects but also reptiles, amphibians and seeds. It nests in pre-existing
cavities and lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated for 17-18 days. The chicks
are fed by helpers, as well as the breeding male and stay in the nest for
28-30 days. By 3-4 weeks after leaving the nest, they can fly strongly, and
they are fully independent 2-3 months after fledging.
Distribution and habitat
Occurs in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding the lowland forest
of the DRC and West Africa. Within southern Africa it is common in Mozambique,
Zimbabwe, eastern South Africa, northern and eastern Botswana and northern
Namibia. It generally prefers arid and mesic
savannas, open miombo woodland, riverine forest, forest fringes, valley bushveld,
thickets and wooded gardens.
It can lays its eggs at any time of year, although in drier areas such
as Namibia laying is usually before or after rain (September-November or
It lays 2-5 eggs in successive mornings on the cavity floor.
Incubation starts with the penultimate or last egg laid, lasting for
17-18 days. The female is the sole incubator, but she is provided food by
the male and group members.
The chicks are fed food collected by a number of helpers as well as the
male. The female is usually the one who feeds the chicks, but the helpers,
especially non-breeding females, will sometimes try to feed the brood,
although rarely succeeding.
The nestlings stay in the nest for 28-30 days, after which they clumsily
fly away, although they still remain in the vicinity of the nest. The
parents feed the juveniles for 2-3 months after fledging, sometimes
noisily coaxing the juveniles into entering a roost hole. Once the juveniles are settled in, the adults
fly away to roost elsewhere. The juveniles are capable of strong
flight 3-4 months after leaving the nest, becoming fully
independent soon afterward.
Not threatened, although out-competed for nesting sites in
urban areas by Common starling.
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Roberts
- Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker
Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.