30 September 2012

Long Tailed Shrike


Date Taken: 30 Sep 2012
Place: Bangalore
Creative Commons License

The Long-tailed Shrike or Rufous-backed Shrike (Lanius schach) is a member of the bird family Laniidae, the shrikes. They are found widely distributed across Asia and there are variations in plumage across the range. The species ranges across much of Asia, both on the mainland and the eastern archipelagos. The eastern or Himalayan subspecies, L. s. tricolor, is sometimes called the Black-headed Shrike. Although there are considerable differences in plumage among the subspecies, they all have a long and narrow black tail, have a black mask and forehead, rufous rump and flanks and a small white patch on the shoulder. It is considered to form a superspecies with the Grey-backed Shrike (Lanius tephronotus) which breeds on the Tibetan Plateau.

The Long-tailed Shrike is a typical shrike, favouring dry open habitats and found perched prominently atop a bush or on a wire. The dark mask through the eye is broad and covers the forehead in most subspecies and the whole head is black in subspecies tricolor and nasutus. The tail is narrow and graduated with pale rufous on the outer feathers. Subspecies erythronotus has the grey of the mantle and upper back suffused with rufous while the southern Indian caniceps has pure grey. A small amount of white is present at the base of the primaries. The Bay-backed Shrike is smaller and more contrastingly patterned and has a more prominent white patch on the wing. The sexes are alike in plumage.

content credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-tailed_Shrike

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