Let’s Chirp with Tim Cockcroft
GREETINGS friends! It’s time for another chirping session, so let’s get straight into it.
This week we are going to look at a cute little bird that everybody knows – the Cape white-eye. This tiny creature is quite well loved, even among non-birders… most of the time. We’ll get to that a little later.
Throughout South Africa, the Cape white-eye comes in many different colour forms. From the yellower birds up in the north-eastern parts of South Africa, to the green-bellied birds just east of us, or the grey-bellied birds in our immediate area, the constant feature of this family of birds is the ring of white feathers around the eye, the yellow throat, yellow bum and olive-green back and wings.
Although, as I just mentioned, the grey-bellied form is the prominent race in our immediate area, I have seen the occasional “green-bellied” bird in our area. The “greens” usually occur up until about East London, from where they replace the “greys”. By the way, it takes a young white-eye about five weeks to develop the ring around the eye.
The Cape White-eye is known for going around in groups, arriving in a fruiting bush and feasting on berries and other fruit, including figs… which is why I said earlier that it is loved MOST of the time!
Flocks of varying size are seen flitting about and working their way in, around and through the bushes before flying off to the next. The contact and flight call is a distinct, “pree”, while the song is a more complex series of warbles, prees, chirps and whistles – quite loud for a bird its size.
Well, that’s it for this week, folks. Please remember I am available for birding tours in and around our area. Contact me on 072-314-0069 for more information. Until then, happy birding!