Common Fiscal

Lanius collaris

The Common Fiscal, or Southern Fiscal or Fiscal Shrike, is a familiar garden bird in South Africa, usually seen singly or in territorial pairs. Adults weigh about 40g and measure around 22cm in length. They prefer open habitats but are extremely adaptable to both natural and man-made environments. Fiscals feed on a wide variety of vertebrate and invertebrate prey ranging in size from flies, caterpillars and moths to frogs, lizards, snakes, birds and mice (occasionally fruit) and hunt from open perches, usually catching their prey on the ground. Their habit of impaling large prey items on thorns or barbed wire to consume later has earned them the alternative name of “butcher bird”.

Fiscal Shrikes breed throughout the year, with a peak during spring and summer, and pairs may raise as many as three broods in a year. The male defends the pair’s territory while the female does most of the nest-building, using vegetation and other soft materials to fashion a thick-walled cup in a thorny bush or tree. It is also the female that does most of the brooding, with clutches of 1-5 eggs hatching around two weeks after incubation started. The male then helps to feed the hatchlings, which leave the nest when they’re about 3 weeks old but stay in their parents’ territory for about another 3 months more.

The Common Fiscal is considered of least concern  by the IUCN and distributed widely over sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa they are found in virtually every corner of the country.

Advertisements

23 thoughts on “Common Fiscal

Please don't leave without sharing your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.