Colouring: Iris brown; bill black, base yellow; legs and feet yellowish pink to brown; above light olive grey; face white; ear coverts boldly ringed black; below white, heavily spotted black.
Voice: Varied phrases of a few quickly whistled and harsh notes, sweet sweet wip-wip, wooeet-tzz-tzz-wooeet, wheee-toot-kzkzkzkz, putreeu treep treee putreeu, etc., with fairly long pauses between phrases; imitates calls of other birds; 4-5 sharp chuckling alarm notes.
Habitat: Savanna woodland, thornveld, exotic plantations, cultivated clearings, farmyards.
Distribution: Fairly common in large parts of South Africa, except southern parts.
Habits: Solitary or in pairs. Usually quite bold, especially around human settlements, foraging on lawns, short grassland and clearings. When disturbed, flies to tree or post with chuckling callnote.
Food: Insects, molluscs and other invertebrates.
Breeding season: Mainly October to November.
Incubation and fledging: Incubation: Unrecorded. Nestling: Unrecorded; may be fed by parents and up to two adult helpers. Clutch: 2-3 pale green eggs, spotted with red-brown and blotched with lilac.
Gordon Lindsay Maclean: Roberts’ Birds of Southern Africa, Sixth Edition. 1993.
Kenneth Newman: Newman’s Birds by Colour. 2000.