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Barratt's Warbler

Bradypterus barratti

The Barratt's warbler, also known as the African scrub warbler (Bradypterus barratti), is a discreet and modestly adorned species of Old World warbler belonging to the family Locustellidae. This bird is characterized by its chocolate brown underparts and rufous-washed crown, tail, and rump. The supercilium is a subtle greyish buff, while the wings are rufous-brown with a buffy margin. The throat is streaked dark brown on a buffy white background, and the breast and belly center is white with grey streaks. The eyes of this warbler can range from hazel to dark brown, and it possesses a black bill with dark brown legs and feet.

Identification Tips

Adult Barratt's warblers measure approximately 15 cm in size and weigh around 15 grams. Both sexes appear similar. The juveniles, however, are less well-documented, but they tend to have shorter tails and more olive upper parts, with a yellowish supercilium and underparts.

Habitat

The Barratt's warbler favors dense, tangled scrub, including bracken, brambles, and heath, often found along streams, in clearings, and at the edges of forests and plantations.

Distribution

This species is endemic to southern Africa, with a patchy distribution in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe and historically reported from adjacent Mozambique. It is also found in Zoutpansberg, Limpopo Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, and as far as Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape.

Behaviour

Barratt's warblers are typically solitary or found in pairs, remaining close to the ground and displaying agility as they climb through vegetation. Males are known to sing in proximity to their nests during the breeding season.

Song & Calls

The song of the Barratt's warbler commences with high-pitched 'tik' notes, transitioning into lower notes that accelerate into a trill. Its alarm call is a subdued 'chrr-chrr'.

Breeding

These warblers are monogamous and territorial, with solitary nesting habits. Their nests are constructed from plant debris, twigs, grass, and leaves, positioned on the ground or between branches. The clutch typically consists of two pinkish-white eggs adorned with brown and grey dashes. Both parents are involved in feeding the nestlings.

Similar Species

The Barratt's warbler can be confused with the Knysna Warbler, especially where their ranges overlap. However, the Barratt's warbler has a shorter tail and less streaking below. Their songs are similar, but the Knysna Warbler's opening notes are longer, louder, and more discrete.

Diet and Feeding

Information on their diet is limited, but these warblers forage close to the ground, consuming insects such as crickets with a mouse-like running behavior.

Conservation status

The Barratt's warbler is currently classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it does not face any immediate threat of extinction.

Barratt's Warbler Sounds

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