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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Ant-eating Chat

Afrikaans name: Swartpiek

Ant-eating Chat

Photo © Steven Herbert

Myrmecocichla formicivora

The Ant-eating Chat is widely distributed across South Africa. It is found in suitable habitat in most areas apart from the southern and eastern coastal regions. Males are darker in colour compared to the females.

It is normally seen in grassland areas ranging from savanna to hilly slopes.

The Ant-eating Chat spends a lot of its time foraging on the ground. As its name suggests it is particularly fond of ants and termites but it also eats millipedes, grasshoppers and other insects.

They have an interesting breeding set up. The breeding pair are sometimes assisted by their young from the previous year. They dig a burrow and place the nest inside the burrow. Normally the female lays 3 eggs and she tends to the eggs. Both adults feed the chicks.

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References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 69

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 170

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 59

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 412

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 521

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 516

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 324

List of South African Birds

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