restricted access Shrikes
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Magpie Shrike L: 45 cm (18") This long-tailed, bulky, shrike is mostly black but has prominent white patches . Small groups of 3–10 sit upright on perches in open areas where they pounce on, hawk and glean a wide range of invertebrate prey . It is common and widespread throughout Kruger, with a population estimated at 16,000 birds, but particularly numerous in the eastern grasslands . They may move locally in response to fire and drought . Calls a shrill starling- or parrot-like “pleeee-eouuu” given by more than one bird, and also gives harsh grating cries . Shrikes This was the Zulu King Shaka’s favourite bird, which he called‘the scatterer of enemies’. The feathers were worn into battle only by the fiercest warriors, who would rather die than return home defeated. 76 Lesser Grey Shrike L: 21 cm (8") A large-headed, upright shrike: adults are strikingly patterned grey, black and white and have a broad black mask continuing up over the forehead; juveniles are scaly and lack the black forehead . This is a fairly common summer visitor (November–April) to Kruger, favouring the eastern grasslands and arid woodlands . During the northern hemisphere winter, virtually the entire world population migrates from Eurasia to southern Africa . Departure for the breeding grounds is remarkably synchronous, as millions of birds vacate southern Africa in just a few nights in early April . Red-backed Shrike L: 17 cm (6·5") This small shrike has very different male and female plumages: males have a small, black ‘bandit’s’ face-mask, a grey head and rump, reddish-brown back and wings, pink underside and a blackand -white tail; females are plainer with a dark brown back, wings and tail, an ashy-brown crown and a much weaker mask . Although it breeds across Eurasia, most of the world population migrates to southern Africa and it is a common summer visitor (November–April) to Kruger . Here it favours open thornveld, with males seeming to prefer foraging in more open areas, while females concentrate in thicker groves . When agitated birds jerk their tail from side to side . woodlands . During the northern hemisphere winter, BIRDS OF PLAINS AND OPEN WOODLANDS Shrikes are large-headed, long-tailed birds with stout, slightly hooked bills. They hunt from perches, watching vigilantly for insects and other invertebrates, before pouncing on them and returning to a perch. Prey is occasionally cached by being impaled on thorns for later consumption. female male 77 ...