Common Fiscal

The Common Fiscal (Lanius collaris)

Now here’s a turn up for the books… these photos I took during my recent visit to the Kalahari… I saw the bird, took the photos, (not very good ones) and told myself it was the Common Fiscal (Fiscal Shrike, Jackie Hangman and Butcher Bird).. When I went to add it to my file of other photos I spotted a difference…

There is what is called a Western variety.. it is the same bird but when in the West of Africa, this bird adds a little white line above the eye.. (so when your lost and you see the bird, you know your in the west of the country)… this comes a s a big discovery for me, never knew this existed…

The West variety…

len 311

Kalagadi 345

Kalagadi 343

and then the more common variety…


No wonder we struggle sometimes to identify a specie, when nature tosses in these variants..


23 thoughts on “Common Fiscal

  1. Of course! I knew that all along 😉 LOL. Unless it’s a sea eagle or a sparrow, I really can’t tell the difference when I look out my window and watch them fly by 😀

    But I’m learning a lot from your posts!

    • When it comes to the smaller LBJs (little brown jobs) I have trouble telling them apart… the bigger ones are easier ’till you start getting differences like on this one… a west and east…

    • Actually the Common Fiscal is not a seed eater although I do agree the beak tends to make it look that way.. but the name Butcher Bird is truer than any other name, and it will steal chicks out of nests, lizards and worms are it’s normal food… they are actually known for impaling their prey on thorns and eating this prey for a few days… not the best bird to have flying around the place… forever chasing all the others away from it’s area…

  2. The bird in the first picture looks quite the little innocent. The others are more like the ones we have here. I am fortunate in that there is a bird bath opposite my glass front door, although I have yet to see a Jackie Hangman in the water. The other birds love it though.

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