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This is a fairly distinctive bird with white underparts and black upperparts extending from the top of the head down to the tail. The bird has a characteristic white "V" on the back and a relatively long black tail with white outer feathers and white tips on the other feathers.
The bill, eyes and legs are black. Adult male and female common fiscals are quite similar except for the rufous lower flank of the female.
Juveniles are duller and browner, with finely barred blackish feathers above and below.
They can be confused with the Fiscal Flycatcher which is shorter-tailed and narrower-billed.
Calls are a jumbled mix of shrike-like swizzling sounds including some imitations and a harsh Dzzzttt-dzzzt-dzzzt alarm call.
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