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the web of life in southern Africa

Bradornis mariquensis (Marico flycatcher) 

[= Melaenornis mariquensis

MaricovlieŽvanger [Afrikaans]; Kapantsi [Tswana]; Marico-vliegenvanger [Dutch]; Gobemouche du Marico [French]; Maricoschnšpper [German]; Papa-moscas do Marico [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Muscicapidae > Genus: Bradornis

Bradornis mariquensis (Marico flycatcher) 
Marico flycatcher, Mokala National Park, South Africa. [photo Duncan Robertson ©].
Bradornis mariquensis (Marico flycatcher) Bradornis mariquensis (Marico flycatcher) 
Marico flycatcher, Kgalagadi National Park, South Africa. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©] Marico flycatcher juvenile, Mokala National Park, South Africa. [photo Duncan Robertson ©].

Distribution and habitat

Near-endemic to southern Africa, occurring from southern Angola and Zambia to Namibia, Botswana, northern South Africa and southern Mozambique. It generally prefers arid Acacia savanna, but it also occupies mixed and Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) woodland, but only if these include Acacia trees. In winter it is more common in open habitats, such as open woodland and fallow fields, but in summer it often moves into taller, more shady habitats.

Distribution of Marico flycatcher in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Diderick cuckoo.


It mainly eats insects, doing most of its foraging from an exposed perch such as a fencepost or outermost tree branch, from which it pounces on prey on the ground. It also gleans food from the tree canopy, and it may even hawk insects aerially, although this is rarely recorded. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Monogamous, sometimes facultative cooperative breeder, meaning that the breeding pair can be assisted by other adults.
  • The nest (see image below) is a small, flimsy cup built of dry grass and weed stems and lined with rootlets and feathers. The floor of the nest is often so thin that that the eggs can be seen from below. It is typically placed between forked twigs in the outermost branches of a thorny tree, usually very difficult to spot, even if the tree doesn't have any leaves.
Bradornis mariquensis (Marico flycatcher)   

Marico flycatcher at its nest, Sericea farm, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is year-round, peaking around October-November in most areas, although in Namibia it peaks later, in March.
  • It lays 2-3, rarely 4 eggs, which are probably incubated solely by the female, who is fed by the male and sometimes other group members.
  • The chicks are intermittently brooded and fed by both parents and sometimes helpers, leaving the nest after about 14 days. They still remain and forage with their parents for about 7 weeks, at which point they become fully independent.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.