Cover image by Dave Rimmer – BirdPix 21605
The Bokmakierie is a species of bushshrike, belonging to the Family Malaconotidae. This family of passerine birds is closely related to the true shrikes in the family Laniidae, and was once included in that group. This species is endemic to southern Africa, mainly in South Africa and Namibia, with an isolated population in the mountains of eastern Zimbabwe and western Mozambique.
Near endemic to southern Africa, it occurs across most of South Africa but excluding much of Limpopo Province, and extending into southern and western Namibia and south-western Angola.
It occupies a variety of habitats, however it prefers open areas with scattered shrubs and trees. It is abundant in the Karoo, Fynbos and Grassland Biomes, where it occupies scrubby habitat, and is commonly found in the Grassy Karoo among low bushes in association with rocky outcrops. The Bokmakierie is also a common garden bird in urban areas throughout its Succulent Karoo range.
It is usually encountered in pairs. It is a conspicuous species owing to its bright coloration and its loud and frequent calls.
The Bokmakierie is an opportunistic feeder, it mainly eats insects but may also feed on lizards, snakes, birds and fruit. It catches most of its prey on the ground, rapidly pursuing before stunning and then eating them. It also gleans insects from leaves and branches and occasionally hawks prey aerially.
Breeding occurs mostly in spring/summer. Both sexes construct the nest, which is a cup made of small twigs, leaves, roots, tendrils, grass and bark, sometimes incorporating man-made materials such as twine, paper and cardboard. It is usually placed in a dense shrub, concealed by thick vegetation. Egg-laying season is year-round, peaking during August.
Species text from the first Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP1), 1997.
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More common names: Bokmakierie (Afrikaans); Ingqwangi (Xhosa); iNkovu (Zulu); Gladiateur bacbakiri (French); Pjempjete (South Sotho).
Recommended citation format: Loftie-Eaton M and Daniel KA 2022. Bokmakierie Telophorus zeylonus. Bird Feeder Project. Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available Online at http://thebdi.org/2022/08/18/bokmakierie-telophorus-zeylonus/