Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Bay-backed Shrike

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The Bay-backed Shrike (Lanius vittatus), is another member of the Shrike family. It has a very characteristic black “bandit” band running across the eyes.

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It has its crown and upper neck, a light grey, divided from the black by a whitish area. The back and the shoulders are a deep chestnut brown colour.

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The rump is white, the wings black with a white patch and the tail is also black, with white outer feathers. The lower parts are all white except for the breast and flanks which show a fulvous colour. The bills and legs are black.

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It is a common bird in cultivations, often perched in exposed positions. It is widely distributed in in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. In the South of India, it avoids the South-west rainy areas. It is a resident species but can migrate locally.

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It is a bird of open country and cultivations consisting of groves of trees and avoids deserts and thick jungles. It can often be seen perched on the top of trees, bushes or on telegraph lines watching for prey. Its prey consist of insects, caterpillars and lizards etc. When the prey is spotted, it flies down, captures it and eats it on the ground before flying back to its perch. It is also known to impale prey on a thorn and then tear it apart with its beak

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This bird has a fixed territory and one can repeatedly sight the bird in a defined area as it does not usually stray from its territory.

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The call is a harsh churring note but the bird is known to have a more melodius warbling song and is known to mimic other birds.

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the breeding season is from March to September and the nest is a large cup, intricately woven together from grass, twigs, rags feathers etc. It is plastered with cobwebs and lined with fine grass, usually located at the fork of a tree branch. Four – six eggs may be found.

  Sighting Information:
Location: Nandanavana Layout, Bannerghatta outskirts.
Date: 18th March 2012
Time: Morning; 8:00 AM
Weather: Hot Sunny morning.
Other Details: Seen perched atop a thorny bush, quite undisturbed by my presence watching for prey, which it would quickly descent to catch before returning to the perch.