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Weaver Wednesday [112]: Red-bellied Malimbe

2014-08-06 (547)

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Red-bellied Malimbe

The Red-bellied Malimbe Malimbus erythrogaster is the only malimbe with entirely red underparts from the breast to the vent; the vent may be black in eastern populations, however. The red head and black face are shared with several other malimbe species. The female is similar to the male but has a orange-red chin and throat, and is paler below. The juvenile is duller and browner than the female.

The Red-bellied Malimbe is found in Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, PRCongo, and DRCongo (see map below, based on Birds of Africa). There are no subspecies and the Red-bellied Malimbe is poorly known. Red-bellied Malimbe map

The Red-bellied Malimbe inhabits high canopy in the interior of dense lowland forest, keeping at least 25 m from the forest floor. It also occurs in open dry forest and secondary forest. It is usually in pairs or small family parties. The Red-bellied Malimbe joins mixed-species foraging flocks. It regularly perches on dead branches at the top of trees.

The Red-bellied Malimbe feeds on insects including beetles, caterpillars, bugs, grasshoppers and their eggs. It also feeds on small snails, some fruit and some small seeds. It forages in open tops of emergents and in thinly leaved trees, amongst clusters of dead leaves, and on dead branches and trunks. Red-bellied Malimbe

The Red-bellied Malimbe is usually a solitary nester but may be colonial. It appears to have helpers at the nest. The nest is a well-woven globular chamber with an entrance tube 18cm long. The nest is placed very high in forest, in thick outer foliage, or attached to branches of tall trees. It is woven of pieces of small vines. The long spout seems to be added during the rearing of the young.

Nests may be clustered in the same tree as the nest of Crowned Eagles Stephanoaetus coronatus, which provides protection from monkeys. The eggs are unknown.

There are no PHOWN records for the Red-bellied Malimbe (see PHOWN summary). Be the first to submit a record of this species! Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.

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