What is a shrike

What is a shrike

The Shrike bird :

The Shrike Bird is one of the species of birds that follow the rank of perches or Sparrows, and is classified from predators that hunt their prey as a meat hook bird, this Shrike has many species, each of which has features and places of spread that differ from the other.

Description of the Shrike bird :

Shrikes are predatory birds with a length of 14.5-50 cm, weighing approximately 18-100 G.the Shrike Bird also has a sharp beak and strong legs just like birds of prey.

The Shrike bird exists in different colors that may tend to red or yellow, and most often it tends to white and black, and sometimes it exists in four colors, and this type is distinctive and attractive, as it appears from above in green and from below it is golden, and the rest of the parts are red and black, and it is also characterized by its long and soft feathers on the buttocks that give it a beautiful appearance.

As for the small Shrike, it is brownish in color with several wavy lines and patterns on its plumage, and the shrike is distinguished by its wide chest, large head, and the presence of sharp hooks at the end of its beak, and Shrike birds are not classified as birds of prey because its claws are not sharp or strong, but its beak is strong and hooked, which makes it easy to hunt.

Types of Shrike bird :

The following are the famous Shrike bird species, an explanation of their qualities, and the most important information related to them:

Shrike White Helmet :

Its scientific name is (Prionops plummets), the length of this species varies between 19-25 CM, and its weight ranges between 25-49 G.this bird has a black tail and dense plumage, and the feathers on its wings are dense and long, and on its head, there are dense feathers resembling a crown of bright white color, its neck is gray, and its eyes are gray surrounded by an orange ring.

The males of this bird are similar to the females in terms of morphological qualities, and the White-Helmet Shrike Bird includes 5 subspecies, birds communicate within groups through clicks, grunts, hissing, chattering, buzzing, where each of these methods is used depending on the situation.

These birds live in nests separated from each other by a distance of up to 50 M and do not reproduce in a certain season, as it depends on their distribution, and it is reported that they turn upside down, clinging to their legs in trees to catch insects and feed on them, and they also live in groups of 2-20 birds.

Large gray Shrike :

It is known as the northern Gray Shrike or northern shrike, as it is found in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the United States, France, Poland, Russia, and China, and these birds prefer to live in agricultural lands, cultivated fields, coniferous forests, and also move away from high-altitude areas in building their nests.

The length of this species varies between 22-26 CM, and its weight is between 48-80 G.it is indicated that the color of its body from above is bright gray, its chin is white, its head is covered with gray feathers with black wings with gray stripes, the tail is black and its end is white, males and females are similar to this species, but the females tend to be brown, and it is reported that they mate in March and lay eggs in May.

Big-headed Shrike :

The big-headed Shrike bird, whose scientific name is (Lanius ludovicianus), is found in Canada, the United States, and California, migrates in spring and summer, prefers to live in areas with trees and vegetation such as forests and grasslands, and is considered medium in size compared to other species and its plumage colors are multiple and different.

The bighead shrike is characterized by the color of its black head feathers, which also cover its face, and covers chest area. it has white feathers, with a length of 20-25 cm, and an average weight of 46 g. it breeds between April and July, and the male uses the method of killing large prey to attract the female and draw her attention in the mating season.

Habitat of the Shrike bird :

The Shrike Bird is found all over the world such as; Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, Russia, Guinea, and the White-Helmet Shrike Bird is concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, while the big-headed shrike is concentrated in North America, which means that these birds live in different environments, but they prefer areas of dense trees and mountain forests.

Shrike birds live on the tops of trees, that is, between leaves and soft branches, and when they want to eat, they descend to the ground and look for their prey among dense plants and grasses, and some of them also live in home gardens and are in areas close to humans, and they are always looking for a dry place containing plants to settle.

Behavior and reproduction of the Shrike bird :

Shrike birds make their nests using herbs, soft plant roots, and small cup-shaped tree branches, males and females mate at the beginning of winter, the couple live together in common nests and a group of birds serves them and provides food for them until the female lays her eggs, the number of which is from 2-8 eggs.

The male Shrike hints to the female that he wants to mate with her through courtship displays such as singing, showy flights, and blowing feathers, and after laying eggs, she stays in the nest to take care of the female for 14-21 days until she hatches, and then lives in large groups.

The Shrike follows a different behavior in hunting, as it follows the prey with its gaze, and may sit for long periods to avoid attracting the attention of the prey it wants to catch, finally jumping into the air and is very quick to pounce on its prey, kill it and eat it.

Shrike bird food :

Shrike prefers to eat small rats, small birds, mammals, vertebrates and invertebrates, beetles, ground beetles, bumblebees, and small mice.

They may also sometimes hunt lizards, frogs, and hide them in places they can reach to eat them within 9 days, and it is indicated that Shrike birds can prey on birds of prey, predators, and small owls, as these birds issue warning cries to their group in case of danger.