It is a treat to see a species that is not under threat. For now, this distinctive little bird, the Heuglin’s robin, formally known as the White-browed Robin-chat, is Red List categorised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a species of ‘least concern’. That means there are plenty of them!
Endemic to the African continent, the Heuglin’s robin is found all over southern Africa in many habitats from riverine forests with scattered canopies to shady trees and shrublands along rivers and lakes, Acacia woodlands on floodplains, and borders of open habitats. They also frequent man-made habitats such as gardens and parks.
Breeding from July through to May, their parenting style is very modern, with both male and female robins taking responsibility for rearing their chicks until they fledge. At four weeks old the young become independent, feeding on insects such as beetles and termites, which it usually finds by flicking through fallen leaves on the ground or foraging through tree trunks and foliage.
Despite being abundant at the moment, the future of this bird, along with others, is entwined with the future of its habitat and available food resources such as the insects it feeds on.
Roughly half of the world’s bird species migrate, with more than 100 of these roaming species recorded in southern Africa. Banhine National Park is an important resting place for southern Africa’s migratory bird species. During the rainy seasons, the park becomes a myriad of crystal-clear lagoons that attract large flocks of birds, such as pelicans.
The survival of migratory birds depends on the availability of well-connected networks of habitats along their routes, which they use for feeding and resting. For more than two decades, Peace Parks Foundation has worked to restore ecological linkages across southern Africa for land, marine and bird life through the creation of transboundary conservation areas. Within the Mozambique components of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation area, Peace Parks is working in partnership with Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas to restore and protect Banhine, Limpopo and Zinave national parks that are part of an ancient migration route flowing down through the parks into South Africa.