Plucky and petite, Southern Black Flycatchers are one of the most engaging of the uniformly black birds that visit our garden.

They hunt by perching in the lower branches of small trees, or even from fences, and usually they forage in pairs or small groups of 4 to 6 birds. In our garden, as elsewhere, they often hunt in close proximity to the Fork-tailed Drongo, also a uniformly black bird.

From a perch a Southern Black Flycatcher watches intently for insects to catch, sometimes hawking on the wing or else landing on the ground and hopping forward to catch what it had spotted from the perch.

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A Southern Black Flycatcher watching intently from its perch, ready to pounce

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Constantly alert, this Flycatcher is scanning for prey from its perch low down in a Fever Tree

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This bird swooped from its perch down to the ground to land a few hops away from catching this cricket in the lawn 

The Southern Black Flycatcher occurs in the eastern and extreme northern parts of South Africa, as well as in other southern African countries and in Central Africa and East Africa. It occurs in various types of woodland, usually in proximity to open spaces. It is also found on the edges of plantations and in gardens. In addition to insects it also eats spiders, centipedes and worms, and nectar and berries from specific plants.

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This bird decided to try hunting from a low piece of picket fencing

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More commonly though I see them perching on a low branch in a small tree, usually near to an open piece of lawn

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In between watching intently for its next meal, this bird passed the time spreading and stretching its wings …

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 … and spreading its tail. Note its right leg fully extended to the side as it stretches. Its expression here reminds me that though tiny and delicate, it is nevertheless a predator

 Posted  by Carol