The Southern White-crowned Shrike is a bird that is endemic to southern Africa, ranging from Angola to Mozambique through Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. In our country it occurs marginally in the Northern Cape and widely in the North West, northern Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. According to the IUCN it is of least concern. These insectivorous birds live in savanna and open woodlands with a sparse ground cover.
Southern White-crowned Shrikes live in family groups consisting of a dominant pair and 1-6 helpers which assist in the breeding process by helping to build the nest – a neat cup constructed with fine plant material and spiderwebs in the fork of a tree – and looking after the chicks, of which 2-5 hatch after a 3 week incubation period. They breed during spring and summer with the chicks leaving the nest about 20 days after hatching. Outside of the breeding season they may form larger groups of up to 20.
Adults weigh about 70g and measure around 24cm in length.