Sunday, 27 July 2014

White-tailed shrike

Lanioturdus torquatus

Photo by Paul Bourdin (A Birder in the Philippines)

Common name:
white-tailed shrike (en); picanço-palrador (pt); lanielle à queue blanche (fr); laniotordo (es); drosselwürger (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Platysteiridae

This African species is found in south-western Angola and in north-western and central Namibia.

These birds are 14-15 cm long and weigh 25-45 g.

The white-tailed shrike is mostly found in dry savannas, particularly mopane Colosphermum mopane, and mixed Acacia, cluster-leafs Terminalia and bushwillow Combretum woodlands. They also use dry savannas, rocky areas, and rivers and streams.

They mainly hunt large insects, namely moths, butterflies and caterpillars, stick insects, ant lions, mantids, beetles, grasshoppers and termite alates, as well as spiders.

White-tailed shrikes can breed all year round, but with a peak in November-March. The nest is a shallow cup of woven twigs and rootlets, usually placed in scrub about 2-3 metres above ground. The female lays 2-3 pale green eggs with reddish-brown spots, which are incubated by both sexes for about 15 days. There is no available information regarding the fledgling period.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be expanding in the east of its range following desertification.

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