Mottled Spinetail ( Telacanthura ussheri, family: apodidae)

mottled spinetail kruger national park birds The Mottled Spinetail (Latin name Telacanthura ussheri) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 422 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 231 also a picture of the Mottled Spinetail on page 257. The Mottled Spinetail belongs to the family of birds classified as apodidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Mottled Spinetail is also known by these other names: Mottle-throated Spinetail, Ussher's Spine-tailed Swift.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Mottled Spinetail is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

In terms of distribution of the Mottled Spinetail in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Mottled Spinetail has been recorded in only 1 sections of the arbitrary Kruger Park regions I selected.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Mottled Spinetail is a small bird about the size of a house sparrow. Do not take this relative indicator as anything other than a rough easy to remember indicator. It is not a accurate visualization. The height of the Mottled Spinetail is about 14 cms and its weight is about 34 gms

The male and female Mottled Spinetail have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is brown.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is white.
  • Back is brown.
  • Legs are grey.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Mottled Spinetail feeds on wing mainly


Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Mottled Spinetail is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Telacanthura ussheri will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Mottled Spinetail is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 1 to 2

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Mottled Spinetail are: woodlands

You can see Mottled Spinetail in flocks. The bird will often also be seen singly.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Gevlekte Stekelstert

German ... Baobabsegler

Portuguese ... Rabo-espinhoso-malhado

French ... Martinet d'Ussher

Dutch ... Boabab-Gierzwaluw

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 422

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,