Family: Mangrove Gerygone (Gerygone levigaster) belongs to the Australian Warbler family Acanthizidae
Identification: Both adult sexes are alike. The head and upper parts are grey-washed and variously brown; the clear white stripe on either side of the forehead extends over the eye and merges with the white eye ring; the lores are dusky; and the neck is grey. The flight feathers are grey-brown, edged fawn.
The tail is dark grey-brown and washed white at the base of one or two pairs of feathers, with a broad black bar and large white spots at the tip of the inner webs of all except the central feathers. Underparts are gray to pure white, grayer on the flanks. Eyes are red to brown-red. Bill black. Feet black. The immature bird’s (as an adult’s) face, eye ring, sides of the neck, throat, and breasts are washed lemon-yellow. The eyes are brown, and the bill is brown. There is a pale horn at the base of the lower mandible.
Habitats: Mangrove gerygone forage out into fringing eucalyptus and rainforest and even through gardens around Brisbane. Where it occurs with other mangrove-inhabiting geophones, such as the Large-billed and Dusky, it usually keeps to the shrubbier landward stands of white mangrove Avicennia.
It forages alone or in pairs and only very rarely forms tiny, loose feeding groups. Established pairs hold territory when breeding. Males advertise it throughout the day with sustained singing from sheltered perches. During nest-building, they continually attend to their mates, singing nearby and demonstrating a little but often rapid flicking of wings and tails. They also fan the tail and make bowing movements. It seems likely that mangrove gerygones will pair permanently. Both sexes feed the young.
Nesting and Breeding: Mangrove Gerygone nesting and breeding occur in September–April, sporadically throughout the year in the north. Nest compact, pear-shaped dome, 180–250 mm long, including a short 50–100 mm tail and short side entrance.
The nest is made of a hood of coarse strips of bark, grass stems, seaweed, and rootlets, firmly bound into the smooth surface with cobwebs. The nest is usually adorned with cocoons and spiders’ egg sacs, lined with vegetables and feathers, and suspended from a stem among the ends of leafy branchlets 2–8 meters above the ground. This species’ brood parasites include several cuckoo species.
Eggs and Incubations: This bird usually lays two or three eggs: matt, warm white to pink-buff, densely speckled red-brown, often in the zone at the larger end; oval, about 1 7 x 12 mm. The incubation period is about 12–13 days, probably for females. Young fledge in about 10–12 days.
Vocalizations: The sweet song of the Mangrove Gerygone carries through the mangroves of northern and eastern Australia during much of the day. Its wayward chromatic cadence is given all year except towards the southern end of its range in New South Wales, where it sings mainly when breeding. There, it appears to be less sedentary, moving in only in spring and summer to nest. The mangrove gerygone call is soft chattering occasionally in contact with both sexes when feeding. The song consists of a series of sustained, carrying a series of slow, rising, and failing whistled chromatic cadences by the male.
Distribution: The bird is found in tidal mangroves and adjacent coastal scrub, from southwestern Kimberley’s east around the Cape York Peninsula to Princess Charlotte Bay, Queensland, and from about Townsville, Queensland, south to Lake Macquarie, New South Wales. Its distribution in the Kimberley overlaps with that of the large-billed gerygone; in fact, it has been driven out of the mangroves and is now found in scrubland with paperbark and acacia as its primary vegetation. It is also found in southern Papua New Guinea.
Alternative Names: It is also known as Buff-breasted Gerygone, Buff-breasted Warbler, Mangrove Gerygone, Mangrove Gerygone Warbler, Mangrove Fairy-Warblers, Mangrove fly-eater, Mangrove Warbler, and Queensland Canary.
Measurement: The Mangrove Gerygone size measures about 100–110 mm in length and weighs 6 grams.
Races: There are three races.
    • l. pallida: Finsch in 1898
    • l. levigaster: Gould in 1843
    • l. cantator: Weatherill in 1908
However, there are two different races of mangrove gerygone in Australia: a western one, Gerygone laevigaster, in which the birds are small and whiter on the breast, and an eastern one, G.l. cantator, which is larger, with a rusty-tinged back and only the barest white wash in the base of the tail.
Diet: Small insects (beetles, grasshoppers, wasps, ants, and moths) are its food, and it searches vigorously for them in the outer branchlets and foliage of the mangroves, both close to the ground and well above it. It will hover to catch flying insects it has disturbed but it does this less than other geophones, spending more time among the foliage.
Resemblance: The species is hypothesized to form a superspecies with Melanesia’s fan-tailed gerygone and Australia’s western gerygone.
Movements: This bird is sedentary and resident. No seasonal movements are recorded.
Breeding Season: Spring and Summer
Taxonomy: First described by Gouw in 1843
Pronunciation: The mangrove gerygone—its name is pronounced jer-rig’-ony -is abundant in tidal mangroves.
Phylum: Chordata
Family: Acanthizidae
Kingdom: Animalia
Order: Passeriformes
Domain: Eukaryota
Species: G. levigaster
Class: Aves
Genus: Gerygone
Names in other languages: Its names in other languages are:
    • English: Mangrove Gerygone
    • French: Gérygone des mangroves
    • Catalan: espineta dels manglars
    • Indonesian: Remetuk Bakau
    • Czech: střízlíkovec mangrovový
    • Danish: Mangrovetræsanger
    • Slovak: trúchlohlások mangrovový
    • German: Mangrovegerygone
    • Spanish: Gerigón de Manglar
    • Italian: Gerigone delle mangrovie,
    • Slovak: trúchlohlások mangrovový
    • Serbian: Mangrovska gerigona
    • Croatian: mangrovska trnokljunka
    • Italian: Gerigone delle mangrovie
    • Japanese (romaji): manguro-busennyomushikui
    • Turkish: Mangrov gerigonu
    • Ukrainian: Ріроріро мангровий
    • Finnish: mangrovekeijumaluri
    • Lithuanian: Mangrovinė gerigona
    • Dutch: Witbrauwmangrovezanger
    • Norwegian Nynorsk: Mangrovegerygone
    • Norwegian: Mangrovegerygone
    • Polish: krzakówka namorzynowa
    • Portuguese: gerígono-dos-mangais
    • Slovak: trúchlohlások mangrovový
    • Serbian: Mangrovska gerigona
    • Swedish: mangrovesångsmyg
    • Ukrainian: Ріроріро мангровий
    • Japanese: マングローブセンニョムシクイ
    • Chinese: 棕胸噪刺莺
    • Russian: Мангровая геригона
Mangrove Gerygone (Gerygone levigaster) belongs to the Australian Warbler family Acanthizidae
Mangrove Gerygone (Gerygone levigaster) belongs to the Australian Warbler family Acanthizidae. Photo Credit: David Cook
Read More: Green-backed Gerygone (Gerygone chloronota)


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