A Vibrant Bird of Southern Africa - The Bokmakierie

Nestled in the woodlands, savannas, and gardens of Southern Africa lies a bird that is as stunning as it is unique. With its vibrant black, white, and yellow plumage and distinctive singing voice, the Bokmakierie (Telophorus zeylonus) is a true symbol of the region's wildlife. But there is more to this bird than its colorful appearance. From its scientific classification to its feeding habits, let's delve into the world of the Bokmakierie Bokmakierie.

What's in a Name?

The name Bokmakierie might seem quite unusual, but it perfectly encapsulates this bird's distinct features. In Afrikaans, "bok" means antelope, and "makierie" is an onomatopoeic word for the bird's call - a sharp "kik-kik-kik." Hence, the name Bokmakierie refers to its habit of calling from perches in the trees, sounding like an antelope calling out for its mate.

A Bird's Kingdom

Like all living beings, the Bokmakierie falls under the Animalia kingdom. It belongs to the Phylum Chordata, which includes animals with a spinal cord, such as mammals, reptiles, and birds. Within the Chordata, it is classified under the Class Aves, which is the class of birds. From their warm-blooded nature to their unique feathers that assist in flight, birds have evolved to be one of the most diverse and fascinating classes in the animal kingdom.

A Member of the Passeriformes Order

The Bokmakierie belongs to the Order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Also known as "perching birds," this order contains over 60 families, including the Malaconotidae family, to which the Bokmakierie belongs Blue And White Mockingbird.

A Versatile Habitat

The Bokmakierie is primarily found in woodlands, savannas, and gardens, making it a versatile bird that can adapt to different environments. In these habitats, it can be spotted perching on branches or hunting for insects. Its wide distribution in Southern Africa makes it a common sight for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts.

An Insectivorous Diet

Like most birds, the Bokmakierie is an insectivore, which means its diet consists primarily of insects. It feeds on various invertebrates, including beetles, caterpillars, spiders, and ants. Its curved bill is perfectly suited for catching insects, and its long tail serves as a balancing tool while foraging.

Hunting from Perches

The Bokmakierie uses its keen eyesight to hunt for insects from perches, sitting patiently and observing its surroundings for any potential prey. Once spotted, it swoops down and captures its prey with precision. After catching its meal, it will return to its perch and repeat the process.

Native to South Africa

The Bokmakierie is native to South Africa, where it can be found in various provinces, including the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, and parts of KwaZulu-Natal. However, its habitat ranges beyond the borders of South Africa, covering most of Southern Africa, including Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.

A Visually Striking Bird

The Bokmakierie's distinctive black, white, and yellow plumage make it a visually striking bird. Its head and upper body are predominantly black, while its wings and tail are yellow with black stripes. Its white belly stands out against the colorful feathers, making it easy to spot in its habitat.

A Medium-Sized Bird with a Unique Shape

The Bokmakierie is a medium-sized bird, measuring around 20-22cm in length, including its long tail. Its body shape is slender, with a slightly long tail and a curved, slender bill. This shape allows the Bokmakierie to move swiftly through the trees while hunting for insects, making it an efficient predator.

In conclusion, the Bokmakierie is a unique and captivating bird found in the woodlands, savannas, and gardens of Southern Africa. From its distinctive name to its versatile habitat, insectivorous diet, and visually striking appearance, this bird stands out among the region's varied wildlife. Its presence is a testament to the diverse and beautiful creatures that call Southern Africa their home. So, if you ever find yourself walking in the woodlands or savannas of the region, keep an eye and an ear out for the charming Bokmakierie - South Africa's very own antelope caller.



Bird Details Bokmakierie - Scientific Name: Telophorus zeylonus

  • Categories: Birds B
  • Scientific Name: Telophorus zeylonus
  • Common Name: Bokmakierie
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Malaconotidae
  • Habitat: Woodlands, savannas, and gardens
  • Eating Habits: Insectivorous
  • Feeding Method: Hunting insects from perches
  • Geographic Distribution: Southern Africa
  • Country of Origin: South Africa
  • Location: Woodlands, savannas, and gardens in Southern Africa
  • Color: Black, white, and yellow
  • Body Shape: Medium-sized bird with a long tail and a curved bill



  • Length: 20–25 cm
  • Adult Size: Medium
  • Age: Lifespan of 5-8 years
  • Reproduction: Monogamous
  • Reproduction Behavior: Builds a cup-shaped nest and lays 2-5 eggs
  • Migration Pattern: Non-migratory
  • Social Groups: Solitary or in pairs
  • Behavior: Very vocal, known for its distinct call
  • Threats: Habitat loss and fragmentation
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Unique Features: Yellow eyebrow and throat, black mask, and white body
  • Fun Facts: The Bokmakierie is known for its loud and melodious song.
  • Reproduction Period: September to February
  • Hive Characteristics: Cup-shaped nest made of twigs, grass, and leaves
  • Lifespan: 5-8 years

A Vibrant Bird of Southern Africa - The Bokmakierie

Telophorus zeylonus

The Bokmakierie: A Vibrant and Melodious Bird of the African Savannas

The African savannas are home to a diverse range of wildlife, from the majestic lion to the graceful giraffe. However, among the vast expanse of grasslands and acacia trees, there is one bird that stands out with its beautiful plumage and distinct call – the Bokmakierie.

The Bokmakierie, scientifically known as Telophorus zeylonus, is a medium-sized bird that belongs to the bush-shrike family. It is endemic to the southern and western regions of Africa DatuSarakai.Com. Let's take a closer look at this vibrant and melodious bird and discover what makes it unique.


The Bokmakierie measures around 20-25 cm in length, making it a medium-sized bird. It has a striking appearance with its yellow eyebrow and throat, black mask, and white body. The name "Bokmakierie" is derived from the Afrikaans word meaning "goatsucker," as early settlers believed the bird fed on the milk of goats.

But the most eye-catching feature of the Bokmakierie is its distinct call. It has a loud and melodious song, often described as a musical "too too too." When spotted, it can be seen perching on a tree branch, bobbing its head and tail while serenading the savanna.

Behavior and Social Life

The Bokmakierie is a non-migratory bird, and its migration pattern is dictated by the availability of food. As such, it is often found in the African savannas, woodlands, and scrublands throughout the year Bornean Spiderhunter.

Bokmakieries are typically solitary birds, although they can also be seen in pairs during the breeding season. They are known to be very vocal, and their calls can be heard throughout the day, especially during the breeding period.

One of the unique behaviors of the Bokmakierie is its monogamous and territorial nature. Mated pairs will defend their territory and nesting site against other birds. They are also known to exhibit a courtship ritual, where both male and female birds perform a duet.

Reproduction and Nesting

Bokmakieries typically breed from September to February, during the rainy season in the African savannas. As mentioned, they are monogamous birds and will mate for life. During the breeding period, the male bird will build a cup-shaped nest made of twigs, grass, and leaves. The female will then lay 2-5 eggs, which she will incubate for about three weeks.

After hatching, both parents will take turns feeding the chicks until they fledge around two weeks later. However, the parents will continue to provide for and protect their young until they are independent.

Threats and Conservation Status

Like many other species in the African savannas, Bokmakieries face several threats. Habitat loss and fragmentation due to human activities, such as agriculture and urbanization, are the most significant concerns. This has caused a decline in their population in certain areas.

However, due to its large range and stable population, the Bokmakierie is currently listed as "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List. Nevertheless, conservation efforts are still necessary to ensure the survival of this beautiful and unique bird.

Fun Facts

In addition to its beautiful appearance and melodic call, there are some interesting facts about the Bokmakierie that make it even more fascinating.

First, the Bokmakierie is known as a "sentinel bird" in the African savannas. It often perches on a tree branch and acts as a lookout, warning other birds about the presence of predators.

Second, the Bokmakierie has a reproduction period that coincides with the flowering season of the coral tree. This tree is known to attract a variety of insects, making it an abundant food source for the birds during the breeding period.

Lastly, the Bokmakierie is often referred to as the "little teacher" in South Africa due to its resemblance to the honeyguide bird. According to local folklore, the Bokmakierie taught honeyguides how to lead humans to beehives, showing its intelligence and resourcefulness.

In Conclusion

The Bokmakierie is a remarkable bird with its unique appearance, distinct call, and interesting behaviors. This vibrant and melodious bird is often overlooked among the larger and more famous animals of the African savannas. However, it plays an essential role in the ecosystem and deserves recognition and protection.

Next time you find yourself in the African savannas, keep an eye and ear out for the Bokmakierie. You may just catch a glimpse of this beautiful and fascinating bird, adding to the experience of being in the breathtaking savanna landscape.

Telophorus zeylonus

A Vibrant Bird of Southern Africa - The Bokmakierie

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