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Long-tailed Shrike

The Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach) is a member of the bird family Laniidae. It is a common native breeder throughout the Indomalayan ecozone from Kazakhstan and Afghanistan through India to New Guinea, found on bushes in scrubby areas and cultivation.

It somewhat resembles the grey shrikes, such as the Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis) sharing the pearl grey head and mantle and black mask extending from the forehead, through the eye, to the ear coverts.

This small grey shrike has a very long tail with rufous edges. The underparts are white, but with rufous flanks. The bill and legs are nearly black.

This bird has a characteristic upright “shrike” attitude perched on a bush, from which it searches for its favorite prey – lizards, large insects, small birds and rodents.

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

Its flight is undulating, but its dash is straight and determined.

There are several races of this species, including the Himalayan L. s. tricolor, which has a black head.

This species is a very rare vagrant to western Europe on the strength of a single accepted British record on South Uist in November 2000. It has also occurred as a vagrant to Japan, Oman, Israel, Hungary and Turkey.

Long-tailed Shrike


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