The Southern Boubou (Laniarus ferrugineas) is a bush-shrike commonly residing on forest edges, in thickets and in some suburban gardens. I am happy that a pair has chosen to become more at home here – certainly the part of our garden where I see them fairly regularly – this year more often than before – is bordered by what one could call a thicket. It is a tangled mass of Cape honeysuckle, indigenous bushes and the remains of an ancient plum tree. This area is particularly suited to them as they prefer to feed on the ground and hop through the low dense foliage to find invertebrates as well as coming to inspect the feeding tray, where they eat fruit and are particularly fond of fish, meat or cheese!

What is on the menu this morning?

In the world of birds it is common to see the males looking dramatically attractive in contrast to the duller looking females – guess which one has to blend in with the nest! This might be true of the Southern Boubou insofar as the female is greyer – the males are clearly black-and-white – yet their underparts have an attractive cinnamon wash. I think it looks attractive, although this too is a colour that blends easily into their surroundings: watch a boubou enter a thicket and in two ticks it seems to have disappeared.

Fish or apple today?

Thanks to their colouring and their skulking habits, these boubous are heard more often than they are seen and so I have been pleased with their increasing presence: I mostly see the female, although the male sometimes comes on his own or joins the female briefly.

Fish, I think.

20 thoughts on “SOUTHERN BOUBOU III

  1. Wow, a shrike coming to your feeders. That is amazing to me.
    Here where I live we have Loggerhead Shrikes. They are normally found on the edges of thickets here too or on the edges of fields. They were almost extirpated from our state due to habitat loss. It is always an exciting sight to find one. Normally you have to go to certain areas just to try to s ee one. If one came to a feeder it would be big news in the birding world.


    • I have just looked at your Loggerhead Shrike – what a striking looking bird it is! Southern Boubous have been around the garden for years, but this is the first season that they have regularly come to visit the feeding tray. I feel excited about this development.


  2. They certainly rank among the most beautiful voices we have here in Pretoria. And such a wide repertoire! While they’re only rarely to be seen in our garden – and I am jealous again of yours coming boldly to a feeder! – the resident pair can be heard calling to each other on most days, and that brings me such joy.


    • It is left over cooked fish. I find a variety of birds like to tuck into it – I only put a small portion out so that it will be finished in one sitting as it were and not attract neighbourhood cats or rats.

      Liked by 1 person

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