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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 14:25 EDT

Yellow-billed Shrike

The Yellow-billed Shrike (Corvinella corvina), is a small passerine bird in the shrike family. Although it is sometimes known as Long-tailed Shrike, this should be discouraged as it can be confused with the Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach) of tropical southern Asia. The Yellow-billed Shrike is a common resident breeding bird in tropical Africa from Senegal east to Uganda and locally in westernmost Kenya. It frequents forest and other habitats with trees.

The Yellow-billed Shrike is 7 inches long with a long tail and short wings. The adult has mottled brown upperparts and streaked buff underparts. There is a brown eye mask and a rufous wing patch, and the bill is yellow. Sexes are similar, but immatures show buff fringes to the wing feathers. This is a conspicuous and gregarious bird, always seen in groups, often lined up on telephone wires. It is noisy, with harsh swee-swee and dreee-too calls.

The Yellow-billed Shrike feeds on insects which it locates from prominent look-out perches in trees, wires or posts. The nest is a cup structure in a bush or tree into which four or five eggs are laid. Only one female in a group breeds at a given time, with other members providing protection and food.

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Yellow-billed Shrike