Bird of the Week – Week 127 – White-browed scrub-robin

The White-browed scrub-robin, like many of the robins, is often heard and rather less often seen. The males and females are alike in both size and plumage coloration and it is of fairly average size as robins go, with a length of approximately 15 cm. It has brown upper parts; a rufous rump; white under parts with the breast and sides of the neck streaked with dark brown. Needless to say it has a white eyebrow, and also black moustachial stripes. The bill is black; eyes are brown; legs and feet are pink.

White-browed scrub-robin

The White-browed scrub-robin is found through most of Africa and in the southern African region it is found in the north and the east, but not in deserts or the Highveld. Its preferred habitat are woodlands, especially where acacias are found.

They are fairly common birds and are usually to be found in pairs. Their call is a melodious “pee boo goo”, usually made from a conspicuous perch.

White-browed scrub-robin

White-browed scrub-robins feed mainly on the ground where they typically run forward a short distance and then stop with an upwards tilt of the tail. They eat mostly invertebrates such as termites, beetles and caterpillars, crickets and grasshoppers.

White-browed scrub-robin

White-browed scrub-robins are monogamous and the pairs remain together in their territory, which they defend vigorously, throughout the year. They build a deep cup-shaped nest of dry grass and small twigs, in which the female lays a clutch of two to four white eggs. The eggs hatch after an incubation period of approximately 12 days.

The scientific binomial for the White-browed scrub-robin is Cercotrichas leucophrys; Cercotrichas from the Greek for a “long-tailed thrush”, and  leucophrys from the Greek for a “white-eyebrow”.  Thus the name describes a long-tailed thrush with white eyebrows.

White-browed scrub-robin

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