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Common Fiscal (Fiscal Shrike) (Afr: Laksman)
A familiar black and white bird which perches prominently in more open areas. Size 21-23cm - slightly smaller than a Laughing Dove, but with a longish tail.

Species Picture

The Common Fiscal is a black and white Shrike. The bill is short, straight and stout with a sharp hook at the end of the upper mandible. The bill is black and the legs and feet are black.

The upperparts are mostly jet-black, with a conspicuous white wing-stripe. The black extends to below the eye and there may be an eye-stripe, in western birds. The underparts are white, and the Common Fiscal has a fairly long, white-edged tail.

The Common Fiscal is a very common bird of open grassland, with scattered bushes or trees. It is found in any open veldt where there are perches. It is generally scarce in woodland or dense bushveld. It is usually seen singly, perched on a prominent perch, such as a telephone pole, tree or fence post.

It subsists mainly on insects, also takes small birds, rodents, reptiles and amphibians. Has a habit of impaling prey on sharp thorn or barbed wire, returning to feed on it later.

The call is usually a phrase of harsh grating and piping notes, which is repeated again and again, but it may sing in a more varied way, often including mimicry of other bird calls in its own song.

It nests all year round, but mainly from August to December, and the nest is a bulky, thick walled bowl of grass, twigs., leafy herbs, lined with soft plant material. It is placed in the fork of a tree or bush, often a thorny acacia.


Fiscal Shrike feeding baby
 

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