Fiscal flycatcher

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Fiscal flycatcher
Fiscal Flycatcher, Sigelus silens - male, at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, Gauteng, South Africa.jpg
Sigelus silens -Pretoria National Botanical Garden, South Africa -female-8 (1).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Melaenornis
M. silens
Binomial name
Melaenornis silens
(Shaw, 1809)

Sigelus silens

The fiscal flycatcher (Melaenornis silens) is a small passerine bird in the Old World flycatcher family. It is a resident breeder in Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland, and a vagrant to Namibia.

This species is found in subtropical open woodland, dry savanna, shrubland and suburban gardens.


The fiscal flycatcher was previously the only member of the genus Sigelus but was moved to Melaenornis based on the results of a molecular phylogenetic study published in 2010.[2][3]


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

The fiscal flycatcher is 17–20 cm in length. 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.

The male can be confused with the northern 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.

The fiscal flycatcher is larger than the male collared flycatcher, which has a white collar and lacks white wing panels.


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

The fiscal flycatcher feeds on insects, often taken in flight.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Melaenornis silens". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Sangster, G.; Alström, P.; Forsmark, E.; Olsson, U. (2010). "Multi-locus phylogenetic analysis of Old World chats and flycatchers reveals extensive paraphyly at family, subfamily and genus level (Aves: Muscicapidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 57 (1): 380–392. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.07.008. PMID 20656044.
  3. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Chats, Old World flycatchers". World Bird List Version 6.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 20 May 2016.

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