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Platysteiridae

Cape Batis
Cape Batis Batis capensis ©Trevor Hardaker Website

Platysteiridae is a family of small stout passerine birds of the African tropics. The family contains the wattle-eyes and batises. They were previously classed as a subfamily of the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae.

The Platysteiridae are arboreal birds, primarily of the woodlands and forests of sub-Saharan Africa. The family is restricted to mainland Africa and the surrounding islands. The shrike-flycatchers and the genus Dyaphorophyia are birds of dense forest, the rest of the wattle-eyes are found in woodland, and the batises range across all habitats except the densest forests of the Congo Basin and the driest deserts. The pririt batis and pygmy batis are able to live in highly arid environments with some cover, and the white-fronted wattle-eye favours mangrove forests in Angola. Many species in the family have adapted to human altered habitats. The family has its highest diversity around the equatorial regions, with half the known species being located in Tanzania and almost half also ranging in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya.

The family is overwhelmingly sedentary. However, some batis species undertake season migrations as well as some local movements due to changing local conditions.

These insect-eating birds are found in usually open forests or bush. They hunt by flycatching, or by taking prey from the ground like a shrike. The nest is a small neat cup low in a tree or bush.

One species, the banded wattle-eye, is considered threatened by human activities. The species has a restricted range in Cameroon that is vulnerable to forest clearance and is listed as endangered by the IUCN. Two further species are considered near-threatened, the Gabon batis and the white-fronted wattle-eye; both species are threatened by habitat loss. Some species are also very poorly known, and one species, the dark batis, was only identified as a species in 2006

According to most sources there are 33 species of Batises, Watle-eyes and allies in the family Platysteiridae; they are:

African Shrike-flycatcher Megabyas flammulatus

Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher Bias musicus

Ruwenzori Batis Batis diops
Margaret's (Boulton's) Batis Batis margaritae
Forest (Short-tailed) Batis Batis mixta
Reichenow's Batis Batis reichenowi
Dark Batis Batis crypta
Cape Batis Batis capensis
Woodward's Batis Batis fratrum
Chinspot Batis Batis molitor
Senegal Batis Batis senegalensis
Grey-headed Batis Batis orientalis
Pale Batis Batis soror
Pririt Batis Batis pririt
Eastern Black-headed Batis Batis minor
Western Black-headed Batis Batis erlangeri
Pygmy Batis Batis perkeo
Angolan Batis Batis minulla
Gabon Batis Batis minima
Ituri Batis Batis ituriensis
Fernando Po Batis Batis poensis

White-tailed Shrike Lanioturdus torquatus

West African Wattle-eye Platysteira hormophora
Chestnut Wattle-eye Platysteira castanea
White-spotted Wattle-eye Platysteira tonsa
Banded Wattle-eye Platysteira laticincta
Black-throated Wattle-eye Platysteira peltata
White-fronted Wattle-eye Platysteira albifrons
Brown-throated Wattle-eye Platysteira cyanea
Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye Platysteira concreta
Red-cheeked Wattle-eye Platysteira blissetti
Black-necked Wattle-eye Platysteira chalybea
Jameson's Wattle-eye Platysteira jamesoni

Family Links

Batises & Wattle-eyes Platysteiridae

Family Account

Platysteiridae is a family of small stout passerine birds of the African tropics. The family contains the wattle-eyes and batises (the shrike-flycatchers have also been re-located). They were previously classed as a subfamily of the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae.

Batises & Wattle-eyes Platysteiridae

Species List

Batises & Wattle-eyes Platysteiridae

HBW Family Account

Annotated list and links

Batises & Wattleeyes Platysteiridae

http://www.fact-index.com/w/wa/wattle_eye.html

Fact index…

Species Links

African Shrike-flycatcher Megabyas flammulatus

BirdLife Species Account

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation).

African Shrike-flycatcher Megabyas flammulatus

Species Account

The African shrike-flycatcher (Megabyas flammulatus) is a species of bird in the Platysteiridae family. It is monotypic within the genus Megabyas.[2] It is found in Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

African Shrike-flycatcher Megabyas flammulatus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Megabyas flammulata J. Verreaux and E. Verreaux, 1855, “rivière d’Angers” = River Muni, Gabon. Genus sometimes treated as a subgenus of Bias. Proposed race carolathi (from Angola) considered synonymous with aequatorialis. Two subspecies recognized.

African Shrike-flycatcher Megabyas flammulatus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher Bias musicus

BirdLife Species Account

The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher Bias musicus

Species Account

The black-and-white shrike-flycatcher (Bias musicus), also known as the black-and-white flycatcher or vanga flycatcher, is a species of passerine bird found in Africa. It is often placed with the wattle-eyes and batises in the Platysteiridae family but may be more closely related to the helmetshrikes and woodshrikes.

Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher Bias musicus

HBW Species Account

Platyrhynchos musicus Vieillot, 1818, Malimbe, Cabinda, north Angola. Some authors separate birds from Angola as race pallidiventris, birds from Uganda as femininus, those from Kenya and E Tanzania as changamwensis, and those from Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique as clarens, on basis mainly of paler and more spotted plumage (of female and immature male); these characteristics are variable, however, and naming of geographical races considered unwarranted. Treated as monotypic.

Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher Bias musicus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Cape Batis Batis capensis

Species Account

The Cape batis (Batis capensis) is a small passerine bird in the wattle-eye family. It is resident in the highlands of southern and eastern South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Cape Batis Batis capensis

BirdLife Species Account

The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be...

Cape Batis Batis capensis

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Dark Batis Batis crypta

Species Account

The dark batis (Batis crypta) is a small passerine bird belonging to the genus Batis in the wattle-eye family, Platysteiridae. It is found in highland forest in south-west Tanzania and northern Malawi. These birds were formerly thought to be forest batises (B. mixta) but in 2006 were described as a new species based on differences in morphology and mitochondrial DNA from those birds in northern Tanzania and Kenya.

Dark Batis Batis crypta

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Dark Batis Batis crypta

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Batis crypta Fjeldså et al., 2006, Mdandu Forest, Kipengere Range west of Njombe, Ludewa District, Iringa Region, Tanzania. Until very recently was included as part of nominate race of B. mixta, but, following study of clear-cut morphological change in C Tanzania and genetic differences, found to be a separate species; related also to B. capensis, range of which it approaches without overlap in N Malawi. These three belong to a superspecies that also includes B. reichenowi and B. fratrum, and probably also B. margaritae and B. diops. Monotypic.

Dark Batis Batis crypta

BirdLife Species Account

This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation).

Dark Batis Batis crypta

IUCN Species Status

This species occurs in southern and central Tanzania and extreme north-western Malawi, where it is patchily distributed in montane areas.

Forest Batis (Short-tailed) Batis mixta

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Pachyprora mixta Shelley, 1889, Mount Kilimanjaro, 6000-7000 feet [c. 1830-2130m], Tanzania. Forms a superspecies with B. capensis, B. reichenowi, B. crypta and B. fratrum, probably also with B. margaritae and B. diops. Until very recently included B. crypta as part of nominate race, but the two found to differ morphologically and genetically; also, formerly often treated as conspecific with B. reichenowi. According to new study, race ultima, which has in the past been included in B. fratrum, is weakly differentiated from nominate. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Forest Batis (Short-tailed) Batis mixta

Species Account

The forest batis or short-tailed batis (Batis mixta) is a species of bird in the wattle-eye family, Platysteiridae occurring in eastern Africa.

Forest Batis (Short-tailed) Batis mixta

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Margaret's (Boulton's) Batis Batis margaritae

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Batis margaritae Boulton, 1934, Mount Moco, 6500 feet [c. 1980 m], Angola. This species and B. diops probably belong to the superspecies that also contains B. capensis, B. reichenowi, B. mixta, B.crypta and B. fratrum. Two subspecies recognized.

Margaret's (Boulton's) Batis Batis margaritae

IUCN Species Status

The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Margaret's (Boulton's) Batis Batis margaritae

Species Account

Margaret's batis or Boulton's batis (Batis margaritae) is a species of small bird in the wattle-eyes family, Platysteiridae. It is found in south western central Africa.

Margaret's (Boulton's) Batis Batis margaritae

BirdLife Species Account

Family: Platysteiridae (Shrike-flycatchers, wattle-eyes and batises)

Margaret's (Boulton's) Batis Batis margaritae

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Pririt Batis Batis pririt

Species Account

The pririt batis (Batis pririt) also known as the pririt puff-back flycatcher or pririt puffback, is a small passerine bird in the wattle-eye family. It is resident in western and central southern Africa.

Pririt Batis Batis pririt

BirdLife Species Account

The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Pririt Batis Batis pririt

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Pririt Batis Batis pririt

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Muscicapa pririt Vieillot, 1818, Somerset East, Cape Province, South Africa. Part of a superspecies that probably includes also B. senegalensis, B. orientalis, B. molitor and B. soror. Marginal range overlap with B. molitor from N Namibia E to N South Africa; some interaction between the two (including imitation of call in order to establish interspecific territories), also interspecific response to playback of sounds recorded by researchers. Isolated population in extreme S of range possibly represents an additional, as yet undescribed race. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Reichenow's Batis Batis reichenowi

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Batis reichenowi Grote, 1911, Mikindani, Tanzania. Forms a superspecies with B. capensis, B. mixta, B. crypta and B. fratrum, probably also with B. margaritae and B. diops. Formerly considered a race of B. capensis or, more often, of B. mixta; has some characteristics of both, and recent genetic and morphological information links it most closely to latter; contrary to some published statements, however, there is no acoustic evidence for its inclusion in either. Monotypic.

Reichenow's Batis Batis reichenowi

BirdLife Species Account

Despite it not having a large range, this species is not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation).

Reichenow's Batis Batis reichenowi

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Ruwenzori Batis Batis diops

BirdLife Species Account

This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation).

Ruwenzori Batis Batis diops

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Batis diops Jackson, 1905, Ruwenzori, DRCongo. This species and B. margaritae probably belong to the superspecies that also contains B. capensis, B. reichenowi, B. mixta, B. crypta and B. fratrum. Monotypic.

Ruwenzori Batis Batis diops

Species Account

The Ruwenzori batis (Batis diops) is a species of bird in the wattle-eyes family, Platysteiridae. It is found in the Albertine Rift montane forests above 1,400 m in eastern central Africa.

Ruwenzori Batis Batis diops

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

White-tailed Shrike Lanioturdus torquatus

Species Account

The white-tailed shrike (Lanioturdus torquatus) is a small passerine bird from the family Platysteiridae. It is also commonly known as the chatshrike. It occurs only in western Angola and Namibia in thorn scrub. It forages from ground level, where it hops about in large bounds and upright posture, to 25m above ground, scanning for insects. The very short tail, with a small black mark at the tip of the central two feathers, is always carried down, never sticking up. Its range of calls includes loud ringing territorial whistles

White-tailed Shrike Lanioturdus torquatus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Lanioturdus torquatus Waterhouse, 1838, Bull's Mouth Pass, Naukluft Mountains, Damaraland, Namibia. Affinities uncertain. Originally thought to be an aberrant member of present family, with which it shares several cranial and limb-bone characters and is similar in various aspects of behaviour; has sometimes been placed with Old World flycatchers (Muscicapidae), and eggs resemble those of helmet-shrikes (Prionopidae). Plumage pattern and nest, however, strongly reminiscent of batises (Batis), and some structural characters, e.g. jaw musculature, shared with those and wattle-eyes (Platysteira), both in family Platysteiridae; recent molecular-genetic studies corroborate close relationship with Batis, and the species is possibly better assigned to Platysteiridae (see HBW 11, page 164). Monotypic.

White-tailed Shrike Lanioturdus torquatus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

White-tailed Shrike Lanioturdus torquatus

IUCN Species Status

This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation).

White-tailed Shrike Lanioturdus torquatus

Species Account

The White-tailed Shrike (Lanioturdus torquatus) occurs only in western Angola and Namibia and inhabits thorn scrub brush. The species spends a great deal of its time foraging on the ground where it hops from bush to bush scanning the leaves for any insect prey.

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 33