Working for birds in Africa

Photospot: Sharpe's Longclaw Macronyx sharpei

p 119-121

Being rather large of foot, I am especially fond and sympathetic towards longclaws. With their perilous peregrinating over the tangled turf, it seems that nature has handicapped them unfairly. In truth, however, long hind claws are adaptations for coping better with the tussocky grass which is their preferred habitat. Eight species of longciaws are recognised and they are confined to Africa,.although they do look remarkably like the meadowlarks of the New World (Sturnella, Icteridae), a fascinating example of convergent evolution. All are characterised by cryptic, well-patterned backs, and striking red, yellow or orange underparts. John H. Fanshawe

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