Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Fiscal flycatcher

Sigelus silens

Photo by Lip Kee Yap (Wikipedia)

Common name:
fiscal flycatcher (en); papa-moscas-fiscal (pt); gobemouche fiscal (fr); papamoscas fiscal (es); würgerschnäpper (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae

They are found throughout South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. They are also present in south-eastern Botswana and southern Mozambique.

The fiscal flycatcher is 17-20 cm long. They weigh 26 g.

They are mostly found in open habitats with scattered trees or bushes. These include moist and semi-arid grassland, fynbos, bushveld, dry savanna and Acacia scrubland.

It mostly hunts insects, namely ants, termites, grasshoppers, moths and Hemiptera. Their diet is sometimes supplemented with fruits and nectar.

Fiscal flycatchers breed in July-February, with a peak in October December. They female builds the nest alone, on a thick forked branch, among dead leaves or inside a dead stump. The nest consists of a bulky, open cup built of stems of dry grass combined with other plants. The interior is usually thickly lined with material such as soft plant down, feathers, rootlets. The female lays 2-4 brown eggs, which she incubates alone for 13-16 days while being fed by the male. The female feeds the chicks alone until fledging, which takes place 15-17 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
These birds have a very large breeding range. Although the population size is unknown, they are described as widespread and common, and there is no evidence for any substantial threats.

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