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Brown shrike

Lanius cristatus
Photo by Mark Andrews (Internet Bird Collection

Common name:
brown shrike (en); picanço-castanho (pt); pie-grièche brune (fr); alcaudón pardo (es); braunwürger (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Laniidae

This Asian species is found breeding from central Russia east to the pacific coast, and south to Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, Korea and Japan. They migrate south to winter in southern Asia, from India and Sri Lanka east to Myanmar and the Malay Peninsula and to the Philippines.

These birds are 19-20 cm long and weigh 30-35 g.

These birds are mostly found in bushes and small tree along the edges of coniferous and mixed deciduous forests, as well as in forest clearings, forested steppes, and in thickets along streams or on the edges of swamps.

They mainly feed on insects, especially Lepidoptera, but are also known to hunt small birds, mammals and lizards.

Brown shrikes breed in May-July. The nest cup is built by the female, using stems and blades of grasses, and is typically placed either on the ground or in bushes of willow, dwarf birches and hawthorns. The female lays 2-7 eggs which are incubated for 15-17 days. The chicks fledge 17 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and, although there are no reliable estimates of population size, it is known to be very widespread. This population is estimated to be declining following a decline of 80% in Japan between the 1970s and 1990s.
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