TKSST is taking a short summer break. Become a member to support our August return
The Kid Should See This

The ‘bizarre and rare’ Yellow-headed Picathartes

The Telegraph called the Yellow-headed Picathartes (aka the White-necked Rockfowl, Picathartes gymnocephalus,) “the avian Holy Grail.” To see them, The Nature Conservancy explains, is “birding Nirvana.” The Audubon describes it as “a bizarre and rare species… the size of a chicken but slimmer, with a colorful, smooth-looking head and a beady black eye.”

The Yellow-headed Picathartes can be found in the tropical forests along the coast of West Africa—in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana—but it’s a rare opportunity for birders and ornithologists to see one in person. This BBC clip from their Africa series, The Birds That Have Lived for 44 Million Years, shows how these mates-for-life prepare and care for their young in nests made of mud during the region’s wet season. From Wikipedia:

Recent DNA analysis has shown that Picathartidae and its closest relatives, southern Africa’s rockjumpers and southeast Asia’s rail-babbler, form a clade. The analysis suggests that the rockfowl split from the common ancestor of their clade 44 million years ago.

Picathartes birds - Africa
The birds were thought to be extinct in Ghana, unseen since the 1960s, until local guide Samson Aboagye spotted some in 2003. According to in 2013: “BirdLife International estimates the world population at between 2,500 and 10,000. In a 2007 Earthwatch report, only 18 pairs were observed in 22 colonies in the Ghana study area.”

Next: How do cliff swallows build their mud pellet nests?

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

The makers of the SAVE plug-in are no longer supporting it. For site speed and security, I've chosen to discontinue its use. If you have saved videos, please back them up with browser bookmarks, Pinterest, or another page saving tool, before they disappear in May 2021. Thank you.
This video was posted 2 years ago.

Watch more videos about...



🌈 Watch these videos next...

A blue tit nest box, from empty nest to fledging chicks

Rion Nakaya

A ‘plucky’ songbird harvests nesting material from a snoozing fox

Rion Nakaya

A nesting pink-necked green pigeon and its squab

Rion Nakaya

Why aren’t bird nests covered in poop?

Rion Nakaya

Scenes from inside a Barred Owl nest

Rion Nakaya

Rangers candle the Royal Albatross egg at the RoyalCam nest

Rion Nakaya

How do hummingbirds build their tiny nests?

Rion Nakaya

How does a tailorbird sew its nest?

Rion Nakaya

A leaf-rolling weevil crafts its nest with careful folds

Rion Nakaya