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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Common Fiscal (Shrike)

Afrikaans name: Fiskaallaksman

Common Fiscal hunting for food

Photo © Steven Herbert

Lanius collaris

The Common Fiscal is also known as the Fiscal Shrike. It can be found in virtually all areas of South Africa.

These shrikes are commonly seen sitting on exposed perches such as telephone wires, signs and the edge or tops of bushes. From these vantage points they scour the surrounding area for food.

The Common Fiscal will eat virtually any prey small enough to swallow. They will take insects, reptiles, frogs and even small birds or mammals. They have earned the name of "Butcher Bird" with their habit of impaling some of their food onto thorns or other spikes such as those on a barbed wire fence.

Females normally make the nest, choosing sites in a thorn tree or other protected spot. Males defend the surrounding territory aggressively against othe Common Fiscals. Normally either 3 or 4 eggs are laid. The female takes most responsibility in tending to the eggs and chicks but the male may assist with feeding them.


References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 46

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 98

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 197

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 73

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 186

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 187

Geoff Lockwood's Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Year Published: - Page: 76

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 641

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 639

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 390

Shrikes of Southern Africa - Author: Tony Harris and Graeme Arnott - Year Published: - Page: 36

List of South African Birds

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