This black and white bird gets its name from its resemblance to the northern fiscal, a shrike. The fiscal flycatcher is 17?20 cm in length. The adult male is black above and white below with white wing patches and white sides to the tail. The female is brown, not black, above. The juvenile is like the female but duller and with brown spots and scalloping above and below. The male can be confused with the northern fiscal, but the shrike has a heavy hooked bill, a white patch on the shoulder rather than the lower wing, and has no white on its longer tail. The fiscal flycatcher is larger than the male collared flycatcher, which has a white collar and lacks white wing panels.

Habitat and Distribution

This species is found in subtropical open woodland, dry savanna, shrubland and suburban gardens. It is a resident breeder in Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland, and a vagrant to Namibia.


The fiscal flycatcher feeds on insects, often taken in flight.


The fiscal flycatcher builds an open cup nest from thin stems and other plant material and lined with plant down. It is placed in a dense bush.

Calls and Songs

The song is a weak chittering, and the alarm call is tssisk.