Bokmakierie shrike

The name is derived from the very variable, loud ringing song which almost sounds like a duet ‘kwit-kwit-kwit-kwit, wikiri, wikiri , ka- weet, ka-weet, ka-weet, bokmakirie, bokmakirie, koki, koki, kok’.

Photos often show it singing from a perch, with its head thrown back. They sing all year round.

They are confined to the south and south east of South Africa as well as the Karoo, dry highveld and dry west. Bokmakiries like bushy hillsides with rocks, aloes, riverine scrub, thickets in open grassveld, exotic groves and gardens.

They are seen solitary or in pairs. The birds forage low down on the ground and they run well. They fly in with rapid wing beats and tail spread close to ground.

They feed on insects, small lizards and snakes, frogs, small birds and suet from feeding tables.

Breeding takes place from September to March in KZN, where they lay between two and six bright greenish-blue eggs. Incubation period is 14 to 17 days and nestlings remain for 17 to 19 days and are fed by both parents.

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