Yellow-bellied Greenbul

Its underparts are yellow and a bright yellow underwing coverts conspicuous in flight.

The iris is red-brown, the bill a purplish slate colour, and the legs and feet are grey. The eye is partly ringed white.

The Yellow-bellied Greenbul is a common resident in the South African northern bushveld, eastern Lowveld and along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline. They are usually found in pairs or small groups of five to six birds. This greenbul inhabits evergreen riverine forests, thornveld and coastal scrub. They are not often found in a canopy of trees, preferring thick tangles at a lower level; also gardens and mangroves.

They are vocal but shy, keeping to dense tangles, but can become habituated to people and be reasonably confiding, especially if there is a birdbath available, because these birds are regular bathers.

This species is relatively long-lived. A ringed individual was still alive at over 12 years of age.

Their call is a loud, monotonous nasal “nehr-nehr-nehr-nehr“, rather like a small yapping dog, often repeated, becoming faster and higher pitched when alarmed.

Their diet consists of fruit, seeds, insects and flowers. It sometimes hawks insects and gleans parasites from antelopes, much like oxpeckers do. It forages at all levels, but usually lower down, in the undergrowth in search for insects and small fruits.

The breeding season for the Yellow-bellied Greenbul in South Africa is from October to December. The nest is a loosely built cup of twigs, tendrils, grass and plant fibres, lined with grass blades, by both sexes. This flimsy cup nest is built among dense foliage in a small tree or scrub. It usually lays two white, cream or pale olive, eggs, heavily blotched and spotted with olive, brown and grey.

Incubation of 14 days by the female only. Nestlings are fed and brooded by both parents, for 18 days.

A pair was recently observed breeding in Hartbeespoort, which is unusual and way south of their normal distribution. The old saying prevails, birds have wings and can fly.

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