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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 8:29 EDT

Bull-headed Shrike

The Bull-headed Shrike (Lanius bucephalus) is a passerine bird found in eastern Asia. It breeds in north-east China, Korea, Japan and far-eastern Russia. Northern birds migrate south for the winter with a few reaching southern China. The isolated race L. b. sicarius is found only in the mountains of Gansu Province in west-central China. Its habitat is farmland and woodland edges. It also can be found in parks and gardens in urban places.

This bird is 7.5 to 8 inches in length. The male has a The male has a brown crown, white eyebrow and black mask. The back is gray-brown while the wings are dark with a white patch. The flanks are reddish-brown and the rest of the underparts are whitish with fine barring. Females are similar but duller and browner with a brown mask and no white wing-patch. The species has harsh chattering calls and will mimic other birds.

It sits on a prominent perch, waiting for prey to pass by. It feeds mainly on insects such as beetles and crickets but also preys on small vertebrates and crustaceans. The nest is built among bushes or bamboo. Two to six eggs are laid. They are incubated for 14 to 15 days and the young birds fledge 14 days after hatching.

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Bull-headed Shrike