Bokmakierie

Telophorus zeylonus

The beautiful Bokmakierie is a well known South African bird, easily seen thanks to their conspicuous colours and the vibrant call from which they get their name. They inhabit fynbos, dry scrublands, grassland and to a lesser extent open savannas, often near rocky outcrops, and is commonly found in suburban parks and gardens across their range. They feed mainly on insects and spiders but will also prey on small vertebrates, like lizards and baby birds, and also include eggs and a variety of fruit in their diet.

Bokmakieries nest mostly during spring and summer though attempts have been recorded throughout the year, raising clutches of 2-6 chicks that hatch after being incubated by both parents for a little over 2 weeks. Their nests are cups built of plant material in thick vegetation. The hatchlings leave the nest when they’re about 3 weeks old. Pairs are territorial. Adults measure about 23cm in length and weigh up to 66g.

The IUCN considers the Bokmakierie to be of least concern. They are common in South Africa (except most of Limpopo Province), Namibia and Lesotho, with their distribution extending marginally into Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

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