Helmet-shrikes and Southern White-crowned Shrike
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White-crested Helmet-Shrike L: 18 cm (7") A gregarious, black-and-white helmet-shrike with a bouffant-like white-and-grey crest and piercing yellow eyes and eye-wattles . It flies floppily from tree to tree, revealing a conspicuous pied pattern . Although a common and widespread resident in Kruger, it seems to be more numerous in winter (June–August) . It is found mainly in a variety of woodland types, favouring areas along dry riverbeds, with close-knit parties of 5–10 birds foraging restlessly in trees and close to the ground in mixed or single-species flocks . Retz’s Helmet-Shrike L: 20 cm (8") This sociable, mostly black-and-brown helmet-shrike has piercing orange eyes, red legs and eye-wattles, and an orange-tipped red bill . It is resident and uncommon in Kruger but it can be nomadic . Small, tight flocks of 3–7 birds work co-operatively during the breeding season to raise chicks; outside the breeding season loose flocks of up to 30 birds can be seen foraging together . It may form flocks with White-crested Helmet-Shrikes, but tends to be less common and less conspicuous, preferring more densely wooded environments . The calls are harsh and grating . The Thick-billed Cuckoo (not illustrated), which is very rare in Kruger, uses the Retz’s Helmet-Shrike as its host species . Gregarious, striking and attractive birds, some of which appear rather cartoon-like, that are often seen hunting from perches. Helmet-shrikes and Southern White-crowned Shrike adult immature 136 SouthernWhite-crowned Shrike L: 24 cm (9") An unmistakable gregarious, bulky, large-headed, vanillaand -brown shrike with a big white cap above a dark brown mask and shawl . This species is widespread and uncommon throughout Kruger’s drier woodlands and savannah, with a population of some 8,000, and can be nomadic . It may form the core of open-country mixed-species flocks, and has been recorded following hornbills and eating prey they disturb . However, it generally searches for invertebrates from a sentinel perch, dropping down to pick prey off the ground before returning to the same position . It is a co-operative breeder, with 2–6 helpers assisting the alpha pair . The calls are a repeated, shrill, ploverlike “kleeew-keeuw”, as well as softer mewing notes . BIRDS OF BROADLEAVED WOODLAND AND CAMPS white-crested helmet-shrike 137 ...