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Weaver Wednesday [104]: Rachel's Malimbe

2014-06-11 (526)

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Rachel's Malimbe Rachel's Malimbe

The Rachel's Malimbe Malimbus racheliae has a black face and orange-red crown like other malimbes in its range (eg. Red-vented Malimbe), but it is the only one with yellow on the lower breast and undertail-coverts. The female Rachel's Malimbe resembles the male but the head and neck are black instead of red. The juvenile is browner than the female with a little yellow on the chin and upper throat, and with a paler bill.

Rachel's Malimbe is found in Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon (see map below, based on Birds of Africa. It is very poorly known and has a restricted range, but is not listed under any threat categories, as it is found in several reserves and is not uncommon.

Rachel's Malimbe inhabits primary rain forest. It mostly remains in the canopy, but may descend in the understorey to 10m above the ground. It also visits the edge of forest in groves of parasol trees. Rachel's Malimbe is usually found in trios, but is also solitary, in pairs, or in small family parties in mixed foraging flocks of insectivores. Trios usually consist of 2 males and 1 female which keep together all year, but accompanied by their young after the breeding season. They have been recorded to bathe in streams on the forest floor. Rachel's Malimbe map

The Rachel's Malimbe feeds mainly on insects, including caterpillars, moths, grasshoppers and mantids. It forages actively in canopy foliage.

The Rachel's Malimbe is a solitary nester, monogamous, and territorial. The nest is retort-shaped, resembling that of the Red-vented Malimbe, and is attached to the tips of lianas just below canopy and 8-12 m above the ground over open spaces. At three nests, two males and one female were seen to be building together. Fledglings are fed by a trio of adults, indicating some form of co-operative breeding. No other information about breeding is known and the eggs have not been described.

There are no PHOWN records for the Rachel's Malimbe (see PHOWN summary), and many are needed of this species. Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.

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