African AnimalsAfrican birding

Yellow-throated Longclaw (Macronyx croceus)

It is a small passerine bird, named for its distinct long hind claws, which is believed to help them walk on the grass. It is most often solitary or with a partner, perching or trees or branches, or foraging insects on the ground. Aside from its unusual long claws, it also has a long tail that swings back and forth from to time. These birds are ground-nesters and lay up to four spotted eggs.

Read further to know more about the Yellow-throated Longclaw.

What is a Yellow-throated Longclaw?

Yellow-throated Longclaws (Macronyx croceus) are pipit-like birds, boasting a striking-yellow underpart and eyebrow, accentuated by a black chest, forming its distinctive yellow throat. Pairs of yellow-throated longclaw usually occur in grassy savannas, grasslands, and prairies, especially those near to water sources.

They often perch on trees or branches, singing mainly loud, whistling “chuuu-ew” sound and other variations. Their species comes from the Motacillidae family and is spread throughout many countries in Africa.

Its seven levels of classification are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Motacillidae

Genus: Macronyx

Species: M. croceus

Yellow-throated Longclaw Physical Description

The Yellow-throated Longclaw is a smallish type of bird but is relatively bigger than the standard house sparrow. It has an average length of around 21 centimeters or 8 inches and an average weight of around 48-64 grams.

These birds quite resemble the Pangani longclaw, but can easily be recognized due to the stretch of their yellow coloring. The yellow-throated longclaw has its yellow plumage along its underpart to the undertail tectrix. Its upperpart is generally brownish with darker feathers at the center, and yellow edgings on its primary or fingertip feathers, creating its wing panel.

They are known for their long hind claws, which is believed to help them walk on the grass.

Where can they be spotted?

Yellow-throated longclaws typically thrive in dry savannas, tropical or subtropical flooded or seasonally-wet medium grassland, or along sandy shores. However, they may also move to burnt or grazed grassland locations.

These birds are endemic to many African countries, such as Angola, Burkina Faso, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe among others.

Interesting Facts You Should Know About the Yellow-throated Longclaw

Yellow-throated longclaws love to forage on the ground, plucking its food from the ground. However, it may occasionally catch prey in flight. It feeds on insects and invertebrates, such as grasshoppers, moths, ants, mantids, millipedes, beetles, worms, mollusks, and arthropods.

These birds are monogamous and will only seek a new mate if their partner dies. During courtship, the males perform an aerial display, flying slowly in a circle with its tails spread wide.

Their breeding season happens from September to March, peaking in November to January. The females build the nest, a thick wall of grass stems and blades, bordered by more delicate rootlets and grass. Since they are ground-nesters, they hide their nest by concealing it with rank grass, leaving an ample-sized hole as their entrance.

The female lays 1-4 gray colored eggs, solely incubated by the female yellow-throated longneck for about two weeks. The parents jointly feed the chicks. Their juveniles leave the nest about three weeks after they hatch or when they already able to run fast against predators.

WILDLIFE PARKS AND RESERVES WHERE THIS SPECIES IS FOUND:

ZAMBIA

Kafue

Lechwe Plains

Lower Zambezi

South Luangwa

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

ZIMBABWE

Gona-re-Zhou

Hwange

Lake Kariba

Mana Pools

Matobo Hills

Victoria Falls

SOUTH AFRICA

Kruger National Park

Yellowthroated Longclaw
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