Saturday, 13 September 2014

Tiger shrike

Lanius tigrinus

(Photo from Hunan Forestry)

Common name:
tiger shrike (en); picanço-tigre (pt); pie-grièche tigrine (fr); alcaudón tigre (es); tigerwürger (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Laniidae

This species breeds in eastern China from Guizhou, Hunan and Zhejiang north to Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang, in Korea, in the Japanese islands of Honshu and Kyushu and marginally in extreme south-eastern Russia. They migrate south to winter from southern China and Myanmar south to Indonesia.

These birds are 17-19 cm long. Males tend to be smaller than females, weighing 27-29 g while females weigh 29-37 g.

The tiger shrike breeds mainly in temperate, deciduous and mixed forests with thick understorey, also using scrublands, arable land and both rural and urban gardens. Outside the breeding season they use moist tropical forests, mangroves, arable land and rural gardens. This species is present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

They hunt by sallying out from a perch, mainly taking insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, bugs, butterflies and moths. They are als known to take other arthropods, frogs, lizards and even small birds.

Breeding:Tiger shrikes breed in May-July. They are monogamous and both sexes help build the nest, a cup made of stems, twigs, roots and other vegetation, and lined with grasses. The nest is placed on a tree branch, or sometimes on a scrub, 0,5-5 m above the ground. The female lays 3-6 whitish, pinkish or blue-green eggs with dark markings, which she incubates alone for 13-16 days. The chicks fledge 13-15 days after hatching, but only become fully independent about 2 weeks later. Each pair raises a single brood per season.

IUCN status -LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is is described as rare in China and Russia, relatively common in Korea, uncommon in Japan and locally uncommon to common throughout its non-breeding range. The population is estimated to be declining on the basis of marked declines in Russia and Japan from the 1960s to the 1990s at least.

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