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Bay-backed Shrike

The Bay-backed Shrike (Lanius vittatus) is a member of the bird family Laniidae.

This widespread resident breeder is found mainly in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, but has recently been recorded from Sri Lanka. It constructs its nest in bushes in scrubby areas and cultivation, laying 3-5 eggs.

This small shrike measures an average of 17cm. It is maroon-brown above with a pale rump and long black tail with white edges. The underparts are white, but with buff flanks. The crown and nape are grey, with a typical shrike black bandit mask through the eye. There is a small white wing patch, and the bill and legs are dark grey.

Males and females are similar but juveniles are washed-out versions of the adults. Bay-backed Shrike has a characteristic upright “shrike” attitude perched on a bush, from which it sallies after lizards, large insects, small birds and rodents.

Prey may be impaled upon a sharp point, such as a thorn. Thus secured they can be ripped with the strong hooked bill, but its feet are not suited for tearing.

Bay-backed Shrike


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