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Fiscal Flycatcher
(Sigelus silens)

Fiscal Flycatcher

General description

This black and white bird gets its name from its resemblance to the Common Fiscal, a shrike.

The adult male is black above and white below with white wing patches and white sides to the tail.

The female is brown, not black, above.

The juvenile is like the female but duller and with brown spots and scalloping above and below.

The song is a weak chittering, and the alarm call is tssisk.

Name & classification

Scientific name:
Sigelus silens

Common names:
Fiscal Flycatcher (English)
Fiskaalvlieƫvanger (Afrikaans)

Malaenornis silens

Roberts VII english name:
Fiscal Flycatcher

Roberts VII scientific name:
Sigelus silens

Shrikes (Laniidae)

Further information



The fiscal flycatcher feeds mostly on insects, often taken in flight. They also eat small fruit and nectar from aloes.

The fiscal flycatcher builds an open cup nest from thin stems and other plant material and is lined with plant down. It is placed in a dense bush or preferably a thorn tree.

Only the female incubates the eggs.

Natural distribution:
Endemic to southern Africa where they are common. Sedentry in the south but altitudinal movements are made by northern populations in winter.

Open woodland from moist to semi-arid regions. Frequent garden visitors.

The male can be confused with the Common Fiscal, but the shrike has a heavy hooked bill, a white patch on the shoulder rather than the lower wing, and has no white on its longer tail.

Other names: icola (isiXhosa)

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